Learning Opportunities Including School Tours in Blessington, Co. Wicklow

At Russborough there are lots of ways for learners of all ages to engage with the historic house, landscape and collections 

Russborough is the perfect place for school tours

Located in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, we offer the opportunity to learn about Irish history, architecture, fine art and the natural environment, all in one beautiful setting. Here you can combine learning with fun, interesting activities and the great outdoors. With plenty of space for little ones to let off steam, we’ve put together some great school tours and packages filled with the best features and events that our historic house and parklands have to offer.

Tours for Primary Schools

For children ages 5 to 8 years (€5.00 per child): Tree Trail, Maze, Fairy trail & Playground

For children ages 9 to 12 years (€6.00 per child): Guided House Tour, Maze & Playground

Teachers enter free of charge.

Make sure that you book early by calling +353 (0)45 865239 to avoid disappointment.

Open 1st March to 20th December 7 days a week

The Art Room at Russborough

Classes for children of all ages

Fostering creativity through the exploration of themes inspired by the unique setting, these classes by Wicklow artist Kate Dick have proved immensely popular with children of all ages. For more information visit the Art Room at Russborough on Facebook. The Art Room is kindly supported by Barker and Jones, Naas and the Alfred Beit Foundation. 

the art room

Children’s Art Workshops

Suitable for children aged 5-10 years 

1 hour 15 mins, 3:00 - 4:15pm | €8 per child | Numbers limited to 15 children. Email booking opens Monday at 9am before each workshop. 

Sunday March 12

The Granite House

Sunday April 9

Birds Of Prey

Sunday May 14

The Forge

Sunday June 11

In The Walled Garden

Sunday Sept 10A Lady Writing A Letter
Sunday Oct 8Low Sun, Tall Trees
Sunday Nov 12Greedy Dog and Bone

Art Room Ramblers

Suitable for walking rambling toddlers aged 18 months to 4 years, 

35 mins, 1:40 - 2:15pm | €6 per child | Numbers limited to 12 children (all children must be accompanied by an adult). Email booking opens Monday at 9am before each workshop. 

Tuesday April 4

What Does The Sheep Say?

Tuesday May 2

Watch Me Blossom!

Tuesday Sept 5Clippety-clop
Tuesday Oct 3Dress Up!

Sketchpad Club

A specialised art hour for children aged 11+

1 hour, 1:30 - 2:30pm | €10 per child (option to pay €40 for all 4)| Numbers limited to 10 children. Email booking opens Monday at 9am before each workshop. 

Sunday March 12

Historical House

Sunday May 14

From Metal Sculptures

Sunday June 11

In The Walled Garden

Tuesday Oct 3

The Beit Art Collection-Vermeer

Adult Education

A guided tour of Russborough is an adventure in fine art and architecture

A tour with an expert guide is an excellent way for you to discover 18th century Irish architecture along with European art from the 17th to the 20th centuries. During your tour you will learn about the building of Russborough by renowned architect Richard Castle for wealthy Dublin brewer Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown and its subsequent owners the Dalys and Sir Alfred and Lady Beit. 

Along with a number of pieces commissioned specially for the house by the 1st Earl of Milltown, more than fifty paintings, very fine furniture, porcelain, and artefacts from the Beit collection are on display. Lovers of architecture, history and art are sure to enjoy Russborough. Just some of the highlights include:

  • Predating 1753, Madame de Pompadour's water spaniel made especially for her in the Vincennes porcelain factory
  • Magnificent Louis XIV tapestries
  • A Scagliola console table top from Vallombrosa, dated 1750
  • A gilt bronze microscope by Gozzi of Parma, dated 1772
  • A fine collection of French clocks
  • Paintings by leading artists including Oudry, Vernet and Gainsborough
  • Magnificent stucco ceilings and plasterwork
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Sir Alfred Beit Research Bursary 

An award for postgraduate studies in Fine Arts 

The aim of the bursary is to support and assist postgraduate students, art practitioners and researchers in carrying on research in the practice and history of the Fine Arts in Ireland. The Sir Alfred Beit Research Bursary recognises and supports research excellence and innovation across all genres of art history from antiquity to present, including but not limited to medieval, renaissance, impressionism, modernism, contemporary, post-modernism, performance, new media, design and architecture.

Up to two bursaries are available to full-time postgraduate students, studying in any third level institution in the Republic of Ireland. The value of each bursary is €1,000. 

The selection panel for this year's bursary award is chaired by Dr Carmel O’Sullivan (TCD, ABF) and also includes Dr Christine Casey (TCD), Dr Emily Mark-Fitzgerald (UCD), Ian Lumley (An Taisce, ABF), Pauline Swords (Russborough). 

The closing date for applications is Monday 16th of October 2017 at 5.00pm. For more information and to apply, download the application form below. 

Preserving Russborough's Paintings

Talk and Tour, Tuesday 22nd Aug 2017, 2:30-5:00pm

To celebrate Heritage Week Russborough's paintings conservator Siobhan Conyngham will present a discussion outlining the common conservation problems occurring with paintings in relation to their framing. The talk encompasses all the things to look out for which are likely to cause damage to paintings and addresses how to remedy them. The talk will be followed by a tour of Russborough, led by Curator Pauline Swords, during which Siobhan will highlight forthcoming work on a number of paintings in the collection, that is generously supported by the Heritage Council.

This project will see conservation work completed on the seven paintings that hang in the Tapestry Room at Russborough, addressing fundamental issues that are negatively affecting the long term preservation of  these important 18th and 19th century oil paintings by British and European artists. Included are landscapes by Gainsborough, Bonington, Sir Edwin Landseer, and Hubert Robert, a portrait by André Derain, and an interior by David Roberts. 

Over the course of six weeks Russborough's easel paintings conservator will out painstaking work to remove old varnish, to clean the works front and back, to retouch, and to conservation frame each piece. This work is essential in ensuring these artworks are protected from further abrasive damage, dirt accretion and deterioration, and to survive to be enjoyed by future generations.

The Artists’ Courtyard

Lovers of arts and crafts will enjoy visiting our on-site artisans in their studios in the Courtyards at Russborough. Many of the talented artisans offer their own workshops throughout the year. Visit the Artisan's websites to find out more. 

Along with the headquarters of Cruthú, the West Wicklow Arts Group you will the following artists and makers working, selling, and running workshops at Russborough: 

  • Candlemaker
  • Woodturner
  • Blacksmith 
  • Ceramicist
  • Stonemason
  • Wood Sculptor

About the Alfred Beit Foundation

The Alfred Beit Foundation owns and operates Russborough House and Parklands in County Wicklow, Ireland. In 1978, it opened Russborough to the public for guided tours. The Foundation's primary goal is to promote the advancement of education in the fine arts. More than a million visitors have taken a guided house tour since 1978. 

The Alfred Beit Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, and was incorporated in March 1976 with charitable status granted under reference number CHY 5940. The Foundation is run by a committee that includes nominees from various national organisations, including:

  • Royal Dublin Society
  • University College Dublin
  • Trinity College, Dublin
  • Irish Georgian Society
  • National Gallery of Ireland
  • An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland

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