Rock and District Historical Society’s outing

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Rock and District Historical Society’s annual two day outing will take place on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday 18.

This year the Tyrone group will explore sites in Co Kildare and Co Offaly.

Leaving Rock village at 8am on Saturday morning they will travel to Tully in Co Kildare where they will visit the famous Irish National Stud for a guided tour which will give them a fascinating insight into the stud and bloodstock business. They will also visit the magnificent Japanese Gardens.

The next destination will be Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded warehouse. Here members will be welcomed and guided by a whiskey expert who will take them on a journey of discovery through almost two centuries of the distillery’s history. They will be entertained by a blend of history and storytelling, hear tales of the early distillery workers, find out how malting is used to trick barley into growing and if they wish, enjoy a tipple of the legendary Irish Whiskey.

The final visit on Saturday will be to Durrow High Cross and Abbey. This was the site of the earliest and most important monastery founded by Columcille in 553. The present site has a church dating from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, a fine ninth century high cross and five early Christian grave slabs. It is sometimes said to be one of Ireland’s hidden gems.

An overnight stay is in the very comfortable Portlaoise Maldron Hotel. On Sunday after a hearty breakfast members will visit Athy Heritage Centre Museum. Located in the former eighteenth century Market House, this museum has the only permanent exhibition devoted to the great adventurer and explorer, Ernest Shackleton. Here they can view an original sledge and harness from one of his Antarctic expeditions and a 15 foot model of his ship, Endurance.

Then they travel to the Curragh Military Museum to see a display of vintage military vehicles, old weapons and among very many other items, a restored grand piano brought by the Essex Regiment to the Curragh in 1895.

The final visit will be to the Straffan Steam Museum where the history of steam power and its role in the development of industry, agriculture and transport is told. There is a display of full size steam engines. Next door they can enjoy the 18th century walled garden and a visit to the tea house.

The coach will leave Rock at 8am on Saturday, June 17 and return on Sunday evening, June 18. The cost of the trip which includes coach fare, overnight accommodation and breakfast and all entrance fees is £100 for those sharing a room and £120 for those who require a single room. All those who wish to join the trip should book by phoning John 87758135 or Aeneas 87759669.