Discover your heritage this summer

Summer of Heritage returns to the streets, parks, cemeteries, houses, museums and hidden gems of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown for another ten weeks from June 25. This year, there are over 35 events county-wide to mark European Year of Cultural Heritage, including brand new tours of Dún Laoghaire town and Fernhill Gardens and a series of lectures in Marlay House. All events are free, apart from a Biosphere boat tour with Dublin Bay Cruises.

A new tour, 250 Years of Old Dunleary, will explore how the tiny fishing village of Dunleary changed beyond all recognition by the development of the ‘Royal Harbour’ from 1817 and the railway in 1834. Dún Laoghaire also has a unique and virtually unknown history of gasworks and chemical industries, before it matured as a fashionable commercial and residential hub.

The town’s coastal location and thriving international port led to a boom in tourism and leisure. Subsequently, numerous hotels and guest houses flourished. The Hotels of Kingstown/ Dún Laoghaire is another new guided tour that will step back in time to this golden age for the hospitality industry.

In the age of aviation, cheap package holidays, and the departure of passenger ferries from Dún Laoghaire, the number of hotels has greatly reduced. Many former hotels have been converted for other uses, such as The Avenue, The Wavecrest, Ross’s Victoria Hotel, The Royal Mail, The Pier, The Anglesea Arms, The Elphin, The Queens, and many others. Hotels that have disappeared include Brazil’s, The Royal Hibernian, Hayes’s, The Crofton, The Salthill, The Belleview, The Bayside, The Grosvenor, The Ashton and Kenny’s.

Another exciting tour will explore Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s latest acquisition, Fernhill, near Stepaside. The well-known gardens at Fernhill were designed and landscaped by the Darley family. For many years the Walker family opened the gardens to the public. This tour will outline the history of the gardens and the background behind its beautiful features.

You can plan your own Summer of Heritage 2018 schedule by downloading a brochure here, or picking up a copy from your local library.

In October, Dún Laoghaire will commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Leinster mail boat during World War One, which resulted in the greatest ever loss of life in the Irish Sea and the highest ever casualty rate on an Irish-owned ship. It is one of the saddest chapters in Dún Laoghaire’s history. Numerous local and national events will pay tribute to the postal workers, crew, soldiers and civilians that perished in our waters one hundred years ago.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.

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