Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens, supporting an extra public attraction in guided castle tours, was buzzing on Saturday and Sunday for a family festival and the first ever Honey-Bee Feast-ival.
The venue is enjoying a very successful year with the Visitor Centre and guided tours of the castle pulling in the crowds,but the Festival of Honey introduced families to the castle’s native Irish bees, meeting the beekeepers and sampling local honey products, including mead, all part of Fáilte Éireann’s Taste of the Island celebrations.
“We are delighted to be hosting our first Festival of Honey here at Johnstown, and would like to thank FáiIte Ireland for their support for this exciting family event which will be a wonderful opportunity to illustrate the link between bees and bio-diversity”, said Brenda Comerford, General Manager, Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens. “This is the perfect setting for the Festival as it is an internationally important centre of food science research”. Wexford has a rich culinary heritage and is known as the Model County for its exceptional farming and food heritage, dating back thousands of years, with beekeeping one of the links to its celebrated Norman past.”
Johnstown Castle is a 19th century Gothic Revival dwelling, patron of Wexford’s social and cultural history comprising of ca-100 acres of parkland, lakes, walks and gardens, recently renovated by the Irish Heritage Trust with the professionalism of Peter Pearson, architectural historian, conservationist and artist, now open to the public.
The castle as you see it today was largely rebuilt from the 1830s to the 1850s on the bones of a Norman tower house. It was home to two of Wexford’s wealthiest families: the Esmondes and, from the late 17th century, the Grogans, who married into the Earls of Kildare. It was gifted to the Irish State in 1945 by Maurice Lakin some years after his grandmother – and the castle’s last resident – Lady Maurice FitzGerald, died.
It is now home to Teagasc and the Irish Agricultural Museum, and its ornamental gardens, lakes and walks are a joy to stroll around. In 2015, the Irish Heritage Trust took over the management of the estate and, with a fund of €7.5m from Failte Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, embarked on extensive conservation and restoration works.
Johnstown Castle is now one of the country’s top visitor attractions with a new Visitor Centre with a café and a shop in the castle courtyard. It is open every day of the year, with the exception of a few days off around Christmas, and open 9 am to 5.30 pm (until October 31st) and from 9 am to 4 pm from November 1st until March 16th 2020. Email; email@example.com
The Festival of Honey is part of the national Taste the Island initiative by Fáilte Ireland. www.discoverireland.ie