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Ballinakill Community Development Committee will host its inaugural ‘Twin Trees’ Festival, this year, from August 22nd - 25th. The overarching aim of our festival is to highlight the rich history and heritage of Ballinakill, with a view to establishing it as an annual community run event.

Twin Trees Heywood Festival

Twin Trees Heywood Festival

Our 2019 festival is inspired by the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the celebrated architect who created the exquisite formal garden at Heywood Gardens. The festival will take place during Heritage Week 2019, and on Saturday 24th, we are delighted to welcome Amanda Pitcairn, a direct descendant of Sir Edwin Lutyens, and representatives of the Lutyens Trust. 

Twin Trees Heywood Festival

Their knowledge and expertise will be imparted during our Tours, Talks & Afternoon Tea package, on August 24th, starting at 12pm.

After touring Heywood Gardens with Amanda, David Averill FRIAI, of the Lutyens Trust, will deliver a Talk, in All Saints' Church, Ballinakill entitled LUTYENS & HEYWOOD IN CONTEXT. We then break for Afternoon Tea in Ballinakill Village, before Dr Matthew Jebb, the renowned Irish botanist and Director of the National Botanic Gardens, delivers his Talk - LUTYENS, LAMBAY & JEKYLL.

Edward Lutyens Architect

Our ‘En Plein Air’ outdoor painting event, tutored by established artists Jock Nichol and Bridget Flannery, takes place over three days, set in Heywood Gardens, the surrounding woodlands, and picturesque Ballinakill village. The En Plein Air takes place from August 22nd to 24th, and has proven so popular, that we have set dates, and made tickets available for next year’s event; which will be held from August 20th - 22nd 2020.

Saturday 24th promises to be a great celebration with numerous events, including our Picnic & Musical Evening, hosted on the spectacular lawn at Heywood Gardens. This is a free event, and we encourage families, from near and far, to bring along their own picnic, relax in the stunning surroundings, and enjoy the beautiful music.

The following morning, at 11am, again utilising the wonderful setting of Lutyens’ creation, we begin the final day with Yoga In The Garden, tutored by Simon Rodgers of Blackhill Woods Retreat.  There will be a range of many other interesting activities and events during the festival, such as our Fishing Competition, and our Floral Artistry display, curated by Eva Holmes, with works created by Durrow & Cullohill, Flower & Garden Club, and Kilkenny Flower Club.

The Twin Trees

Delving deep into our history, our festival name is inspired by two enduring symbols of Ballinakill - the twin trees. These common lime trees are considered ‘ Landmark’ trees, and are registered with the Tree Council of Ireland, due to the story of their existence.

In 1606 Sir Thomas Coatch, who was proprietor of the Manor of Gallen, was granted the right to hold a fair in Ballinakill, and in 1612 the town was incorporated by a charter of James I. This charter stipulated that one fair was to be held on each Thursday, and the following morning, in the week of Pentecost, and another fair on every 5th of November. 

All entering the village were required to pay a toll at the twin trees, and as a result they were called the ‘Toll Trees’. It is not known when this toll was introduced but the trees are marked on the Skinner and Taylor maps of Ireland, produced in the late 18th Century, at a time when the roads to Durrow and Castlecomer did not exist. Neither is it recorded when the toll ceased.

The Fair itself, which had become known as the Ballinakill Cattle Fair, was last held in 1963 after more than 300 years of almost continuous trade, save for its cancellation in 1941, due to the foot and mouth outbreak.

Over time the lime trees came to be known as the ‘Tall Trees’ and in more recent times are referred to as the ‘ Twin Trees’, the name change taking with it the history of the common limes.

On July 20th 2009, the Tree council of Ireland, recorded the trees, as being 16 metres in height, with a girth of 2.96 metres. Their heritage is listed as that of Landmark, and their value as being, ‘trees with a story.’

And we are sure they could tell many!

Celebrating Lutyens

The works of Edwin Lutyens are appreciated, cherished and celebrated wherever they stand. In fact more than 500 of his creations have been placed on the National Heritage List for England.

Lutyens’ association with Ballinakill, has long been known in the realms of architectural and garden design appreciation.  In the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth, it is our mission to impress upon all visitors to Heywood Gardens, the calibre of this significant part of Lutyens’ legacy. .

The estate is steeped in history! We can name-drop Gandon, Jekyll and even Empress Elizabeth of Austria, who dined there, with M.F. Trench in 1879, but perhaps the greatest chapter of the story of the place, is that of Edwin Lutyens, and the garden he designed.

It is in that very garden, one of the last vestiges of a Heywood from a very different age, that we will celebrate Lutyens, the visionary, the architect, the man.






Irish Arts Review Yearbook, (1991/1992), pp. 95-98

Ballinakill Celebrating 400 Years as a Charter Town 1612-2012 by Christy O’Shea & Ger Dunphy


Ask About Ireland

Read more about Edwin Lutyens on the XO Chronicles

Edwin Lutyens 1869

Read more about Heywood House and Gardens on the XO Chronicles

Heywood House 1773

Heywood Gardens


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