Féile na Tuaithe is ready to bring the Museum to life

John Neilly (Nephin Whiskey), who is the only remaining master cooper in Ireland, demonstrates his traditional barrel making skills at the launch of Féile na Tuaithe 2016 at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life near Castlebar. Féile na Tuaithe takes place on May 21 and 22. Photo: John Mee Photography.

John Neilly (Nephin Whiskey), who is the only remaining master cooper in Ireland, demonstrates his traditional barrel making skills at the launch of Féile na Tuaithe 2016 at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life near Castlebar. Féile na Tuaithe takes place on May 21 and 22. Photo: John Mee Photography.

Féile na Tuaithe in Turlough Park is one of the biggest free family festivals in the west and returns to the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life on Saturday May 21 and Sunday May 22. The festival was officially launched at the Museum of Country Life in Turlough, Castlebar, last week giving guests and visitors a glimpse of the dynamic programme on offer this year.

Féile na Tuaithe brings the museum to life and effortlessly connects with visitors of all ages. During féile the entire site is full with the sights and sounds of traditional Irish life, set against innovations of the 21st century. From a modern take on traditional weaving from Claremorris-based Wild Cocoon, to the time honoured traditions of Nephin Whiskey’s master cooper (alongside 12 other demonstrations ) visitors have the opportunity to see a living history of strong Irish craft traditions. Vintage farm machinery and a visit to the animal village, which this year includes horses, cows, donkeys, moiled cattle, blackface sheep, pigs, and poultry, provide a glimpse into agricultural history.

Woodland trails full of mythical creations and large-scale artwork provide the perfect reason to explore the museum’s grounds, and then continue that exploration within the museum’s galleries. Younger visitors can enjoy hands-on art and craft activities, face painting and traditional games, and the craft and food villages provide exceptional opportunities for a bit of shopping and perhaps an outdoor meal enjoyed alongside a live performance from one of the musical acts in the entertainment village. Not just across the site but into the gallery itself.

Entry and car parking are free of charge and crowds of up to 30,000 are expected in Turlough over the two day event. A combination of familiar offerings with new and innovative attractions packs the programme. All elements have a direct connection with the exhibitions within the museum which showcases traditional country life since the 19th century. Speaking at the launch, Tony Candon, manager keeper of the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, spoke about the strong connection between the festival and the museum. “Féile na Tuaithe is grounded in the National Folklife Collection which we are proud to have here in Mayo. Everything in féile derives from the collection and truly brings the Museum to life during this, the most joyful of festivals. With nearly 100 different participants, there is something for everyone, young and old.” He also was gracious in his thanks to all sponsors, saying: “I want to sincerely thank all our sponsors and our principal partner, Mayo County Council, without whom Féile na Tuaithe would not be possible. “

For more information log on to www.museum.ie/country-life/feile-na-tuaithe

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