Shamrock shenanigans with National Trust

AS spring comes alive, National Trust houses, gardens, coast and countryside are emerging from the winter with renewed life.

The spring season kicks off with the opening of mansions and houses across Northern Ireland on Saturday 16 March and St Patrick’s Day Celebrations at Downhill Demesne, Springhill, The Argory and Giant’s Causeway on 17 March.

Liven up your St Patrick’s weekend and join the search for Leprechauns at Hezlett House. Leprechauns have escaped from the trees of Downhill forest and hidden themselves around Hezlett House! A handsome reward of magical Leprechaun gold awaits those who find these tricky fellows. To join the hunt for Leprechauns and discover the fascinating story of Hezlett House, come along on Sunday 17 March from 12noon to 4pm. Normal admission, Members free.

An evening of traditional Irish Folk Music is on offer in the historically breathtaking and specially lit Mussenden Temple on Saturday 16 March at 7pm. A variety of time-honoured folk music performed by a unique and talented quintet promises to enlighten and exhilarate to toe tapping standards. The magic begins at 7pm on Saturday 16 March 2013, admission price is £18 per adult and booking is essential. Contact 028 7084 8728 for bookings and more details.

A distinctly Irish feel will be in the air at Springhill and The Argory on 17 March with free entry for anyone who can prove they are called Patrick. At Springhill discover the shamrock trail, enjoy traditional food and Irish folk music from Mid Ulster’s very own Chasin’ Hooley. With craft activities for the children, and craft and produce stalls, this is sure to be a fine way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Springhill will be open from 1pm to 5pm. Normal admission, Members free.

There will be a host of entertainment for all ages at The Argory. Children will love the shillelagh trail and craft activities. Enjoy some Irish food and traditional music from members of Armagh Pipers Club. The Argory will be open from 12 noon to 5pm for a fantastic day of fun for all the family. Normal admission, Members free.

Enjoy traditional Irish dancing, food, drink and craic at the Giant’s Causeway on 17 March. Local Irish dance schools will perform in the Visitor Centre from 12 noon to 3pm and there will be an exclusive performance from the Northern Ireland Military Wives Choir. For kids of all ages follow the leprechaun trail around the Causeway. Normal admission, Members free.

Come along and enjoy the St Patrick’s Day fun.

National Trust mansion properties in Northern Ireland open for the 2013 season on 16 March 2013, many open spaces and places remain open all year.

For further information, including opening arrangements, admission, events and the work of the National Trust, Northern Ireland’s largest conservation charity, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ni