by Deirdre Cullen
Castletown House reopens to the public on Friday 1st March. During the winter break our OPW conservation team has been busy cleaning and caring for the house, we’ve been preparing an exciting programme of events, and we’ll be open for longer, right up to until December 15th.
Music and theatre are always an important part of our events programme at Castletown. This year we feature Handel’s Messiah, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Rock Violinists Sephira, mezzo soprano Sharon Carty, and the acclaimed soprano Celine Byrne. Our ‘Making an Entrance’ recitals, introducing new musical talent, continue in the Entrance Hall, and Connor McKeon and his band return to play on the Back Lawn in July.
Chapterhouse Theatre’s lively adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will be a theatrical highlight on the Back Lawn in June. Red Embers Theatre Company returns to Castletown in October with a performance of The Seafarer, and Malcolm Proud’s Mr Swift meets Mr Handel will be staged in the Hunting Room in November.
Look out for some fascinating special events. Supported by Creative Ireland, the Irish Georgian Society, Kildare Council Council and the Office of Public Works will present ‘The Heritage Buildings Show’ in June, a weekend of traditional building skills demonstrations and talks. National Heritage Week in August and Culture Night in September will be celebrated with theatre, talks and music.
Special Tours will run through the year: Closer Look, focusing on Castletown’s architecture and interiors in more detail; Upstairs/Downstairs, giving a flavour of servant life at Castletown; and parkland tours looking at how Lady Louisa created the landscape we enjoy today and at the farmyard which is being carefully restored by the OPW.
On St. Patrick’s Day the Stable Wing Courtyard hosts our annual Céilí, with Jerry Reilly and the Brian Boru Céilí Band. And our popular Country Market & Craft Fair recommences on Sunday 31st March and continues through the year on the last Sunday of every month.
The Garden and Play Area open again on 22nd April, ticket prices and opening hours are on our website. The Castletown Experience launches on 1st July, and includes exhibitions and weekend encounters with our visiting pet farm, as well as allowing access to the Garden and Play Area.
Check our website www.castletown.ie for detailed events listings, dates and prices, and for regular updates on our busy events programme.