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“Amazing Insight Into Irish Life”

Hennigan's Heritage Centre
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Swinford
Attraction details
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Amazing Insight Into Irish Life”
Reviewed October 13, 2013

We were able to visit Hennigan’s Heritage Center, despite it being just after the season. I had emailed to ask if they would still be open, and Tom said to call him the day before we would be in town to confirm that he would be open. As it turned out, my wife and I had what amounted to a private tour. Tom is a sixth generation resident of the farm on which the center is located. He was born and raised there and has lived there his entire life. His stories are a mixture of his personal experiences, significant research, and stories from others who have lived the stories. It was a stark contrast from the usual tour guide that recites a tale that they know by heart but probably aren’t connected to at all. Tom’s stories have a warmth and unfortunately a sadness on occasion, such is the Irish history. While I’m sure that the National Museum of Country Life in Turlough Park has more artifacts, I am also equally sure that what my wife and I experienced was much more personal and true to life. I can recommend this tour in the highest possible way. It is a unique view into the Irish past that is authentic as any can be. Make the effort to experience this tour for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

Visited October 2013
4 Thank Frank F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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67 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“A fascinating two hours”
Reviewed September 12, 2013

A born communicator and story teller Mr Hennigan will take you back in time for two hours and teach you more than you can possibly expect in that time. I had caught up with him on Ireland West music channel where he used to do a short spot and had an expectation that the visit would prove enjoyable and illuminating, I was proven right. We were visiting from England two with Irish roots and two without and all agreed it was great. It is not just all about Ireland it is also about folklore that may well be common across many different cultures and you discover many things that trike a note with you. You will need to listen carefully and concentrate to get the most out of it and then you will have a cracking time, with tea and home made scones included worth every penny of ten euros a person.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank SPG13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taunton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Better than expected”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Thanks to Tom for an interesting and informative tour of his old family home. His first hand account of life in rural Ireland, illustrated by collected artefacts and family heirlooms, was powerful and thought provoking.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank Jason L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lunenburg, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Hennigan's Heritage Centre - Excellent Visit”
Reviewed July 24, 2013

We went here, on a 3-generation family trip, at my insistence. Getting there was slightly daunting - a long way down a couple of narrow lanes, arrival at something that looked nothing much like a tourist attraction, but to our ultimate satisfaction. This place is real, the story is real, right from the source. Authentic is the word to use.

The tour started out with an intensely personal discussion of the Hennigan home (a 3-room plus loft cottage) that parents, 6 children, and a grandparent shared until about 1970. An eye-opening visit. It continued with a surprisingly extensive tour of rehabbed/renovated barns showing various aspects of rural Irish life c. 1850-1970. Really good stuff, learned a lot, and Mr. Hennigan was more than patient with our boys (ages 6, 8, and 9) - the visit made an impact on even them!

It ended with tea, scones, and an old Irish liquid treat. One of the most informative, authentic, and REAL places we visited on this trip. If you really care about what's real, and history, you'll benefit from a visit here. Well worth it.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank JohnGaultofMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Windham, Connecticut
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A small treasure of rural Ireland”
Reviewed July 2, 2013

Some attractions a tourist may want to visit for what they can see, and others for what they can do there, and then there are the very special places like Hennigan’s Heritage Centre where the biggest attraction is the person you will meet. Tom Hennigan, from the sixth generation of Hennigans to live on this property, who will give you the tour, is a living connection to a rural life in tens of thousands of small, stone cottages that once existed but has now disappeared. If you are Irish, or live elsewhere and have Irish ancestors, Tom can tell you from 1st hand experience how at least some of your ancestors surely lived. He also maintains a wonderful museum of artifacts of that rural life that would be worth the trip there all by themselves, but it’s “himself” that is the very best reason to make the effort to get to Hennigan’s if you are ever in the area. If you are an American tourist the last part of the trip there down a narrow little country lane may seem a bit harrowing, but the chance to meet Tom and hear his stories are well worth the trip. This living connection to Ireland’s rural past is a perishable commodity. Though Tom appears to have, and God willing does have, many, many good years of excellent health still ahead of him, someday in the not too distant future there will be no one left in Ireland who actually lived this life and can tell us what it was like.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank irish062
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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