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Hidden Ireland, a divine collection of private residences throughout Ireland, offers something a little bit different if you are planning a staycation this summer.

Rossnareee House
 Rossnaree House, a historic country estate just forty minutes from Dublin in Slane, County Meath, offers four boutique guest rooms overlooking the Boyne Valley’s famous megalithic site, Newgrange.

This is an inspiring setting where the artistic owner Aisling Law loves to share her passion for art with her guests. In 2007, Aisling founded the Rossnaree School of Art, after returning from a year’s study in Florence. Aisling is running three Art courses this summer and she has some fantastic tutors on board, artists Samuel Horler, Garoid Hayes and Harry Durdin Robertson.

Each three day Art course, including a delicious home grown lunch costs €275. If you would like to stay in beautiful Rossnaree House while completing the Art Course, Rossnaree is offering a package including 3 night’s bed and breakfast and the three day art course for just €550.

Drawing Course of Charles Bargue, June 24 - 26 2013: This course introduces students to representational drawing methods through the study of the Course de Dessin of Charles Bargue and Jean-L

Léon Gérôme, originally published in Paris in the 1860s. The artist’s manual teaches the fundamentals of drawing in a classic manner that helped train artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso. It is the culmination of over 400 years of drawing education.

Painting from Life, July 9- 11, 2013: Garoid Hayes will be teaching this painting course, which focuses on the figure and portrait. He will be tutoring painting techniques of the old masters in the use of oil paints while promoting the importance of contemporary themes.

Rossnaree House: 041 982 0975 or email:

 Kilmokea House
Beautiful Kilmokea House in Wexford will play host to two fantastic open air Garden Theatre events this summer. Chapterhouse Theatre Company presents The Wind in the Willlows on Sunday 7th July, and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on Sunday, August 4, in the gorgeous setting of Kilmokea Gardens.

Adult ticket is €17, Child’s ticket is €12, Family of 2 adults and 2 children is €48, and there will be refreshments available. Bring your own seating!

Kilmokea Gardens: 086 6641946,

Castlecoote House
Set against the wonderful historic Georgian Palladian backdrop of Castlecoote House, The 5th Percy French Festival takes place from July 10 -12 in French's native county Roscommon.

The Percy French Festival is an annual event with an exciting and diverse programme of lectures, recitals, poems, monologues, music, drama and paintings celebrating the life and times of the multi-talented William Percy French.

Part of The Gathering Ireland 2013, and in association with Roscommon County Council, The Percy French Festival, The French Connection has as its Honorary President the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, and Castlecoote House will host prominent speakers covering the historical, cultural, social and political context of Percy French’s life and works, including significant authors, academics, politicians, and artists, who will lecture and perform.

Castlecoote House, home of The Percy French Festival, has a long and exciting history, evolving from a hill fort to a Norman castle to the elegant Georgian Palladian mansion that, restored with historical authenticity, stands today by its old castle towers in gorgeous gardens, encircled by the swift-flowing River Suck.

For the Percy French Festival 2013 at Castlecoote House, two nights bed & breakfast, and tickets for all the Festival events cost €247 per person sharing. The weekly rate for all events including recitals at Castlecoote House is €90, or a daily rate for 3 lectures, tea/coffee and homemade cakes, with an afternoon recital is €30.

Castlecoote House: 090 66 63794,