Kieran O'Leary in 'A Christmas Carol', presented by Ocean of Notions Productions.

Christmas carols, craft and a Dickens classic at Turlough Park this December

THE National Museum of Ireland is inviting people to escape the hustle and bustle and discover some Christmas traditions from yesteryear, through a new programme of events and activities at Turlough Park, Castlebar, this December.

From Christmas carols in the exhibition galleries to a heartwarming adaptation of a Charles Dickens' classic, there is plenty to keep visitors young and old entertained throughout the festive season.

During the month of December, families can enjoy a treasure hunt with a Christmas twist in the museum galleries.

Pick up a Christmas decorations activity sheet and clipboard at museum reception and use the clues to find 12 decorations hanging in the displays across three floors of exhibition galleries. Find all of the decorations to complete the challenge and enter a free competition for a special Christmas goodie hamper.

Enjoy a Christmas classic from Charles Dickens.

On Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10, the museum is excited to present 'A Christmas Carol' by Ocean of Notions Productions.

This adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless tale has become a highly anticipated date in the festive calendar of Cork City where is has been performed at Nano Nagle Place over the last number of years.

There will be three intimate performances in the Victorian setting of Turlough Park, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 10. Admission is free but places are limited so early booking is advised.

'A Christmas Carol' is directed by Judie Chalmers and performed by Kieran O'Leary and Nicole McDonagh, with an evocative selection of Early Celtic, Medieval and Victorian carols. The production features an original soundscape created by Shane O'Sullivan.

One of the animals from the Nativity story.

The museum is also hosting a Christmas craft market in the Courtyard from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 9. There will be a range of local and handmade crafts with candles, calligraphy, art, cards, textiles and more to browse and shop.

Over the same weekend, visitors to the Courtyard will also be able to see a nativity scene brought to life by animals from Kiltimagh Pet Farm. Learn about and meet some of the animals, such as sheep, goats, cows and donkeys, which are featured in the nativity story and other traditions around Christmas time.

The live crib also takes place on Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17. See for further details and event times.

The inspirational Rock 'n' Roses Choir will be performing in the exhibition galleries at 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 16. The choir members are all cancer survivors and the group take their name from the local cancer support service, Rock Rose House.

The next day, on Sunday, December 17, join two of the region's leading choral groups - the Mayo Male Voice Choir and the Cill Aodain Choral Society - for an atmospheric afternoon of Christmas carols in the exhibition galleries from 3 p.m. Admission is free and no booking is required.

Synge & Byrne Café is open in the Courtyard throughout with some festive specials, including a 'Merry Berry' hot chocolate, mulled tea and gingerbread latte. Visitors can also shop a unique range of books, gifts and crafts in the museum shop.

Each season has its own special appeal in the award-winning, biodiverse gardens of Turlough Park. Enjoy the quietude of winter and reconnect with nature in this picturesque demesne. There is a network of walkways through 40 acres of formal Victorian gardens, 18th century parkland and woodland. The Castlebar to Turlough greenway is also an option to enjoy the outdoors along a 10km mainly off-road route.

For further information on events and activities at the National Museum of Ireland, Turlough Park, Castlebar, this December, visit