Join Us at The Gathering 2024!

Calling all homeschooling families! Get ready for a weekend filled with adventure, connection, and learning at the annual HEN Gathering – an event you won’t want to miss!

WHEN : September 6th-9th 2024 (Fri – mon)
where: Portlick Campsite, Athlone

The Gathering 2024 is the ultimate summer festival for homeschooling families who are members of the HEN (Home Education Network) Ireland. It’s a chance for kids, parents, and teens alike to come together, share experiences, and make lasting memories in a vibrant and supportive community.

Here is what you can expect:

Camping Weekend

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature with a camping experience. Share stories around the campfire, roast marshmallows, stargaze under the night sky, and create cherished memories with your family. The campsite is booked for exclusive use for The Gathering 2024, ensuring a private and secure environment for all attendees.

Portlick’s Exciting Activities

The Big Dig by the School of Archaeology

Uncover ancient secrets with The Big Dig! Experience what it’s like to be an archaeologist by excavating the remains of a Viking house.

Space for Teens

Great Place to Make New Connections

The Gathering 2024 is not just about fun and learning; it’s also a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded homeschooling families and forge new friendships. Connect with others who share your journey and build a supportive network that lasts beyond the weekend.

Year of Arts (YOFA)

Discover your creative side with Year of Arts workshops and activities tailored to all ages, including children, teens, and grandparents. Immerse yourself in various art forms and expand your artistic horizons!

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to Gather, learn, and grow together as a community. Bookings close on August 1st, so secure your spot today!

Let’s make memories together at The Gathering 2024 – where homeschooling families come together!

Weekend Camping Ticket for The Gathering 2024

Join Us for an Unforgettable Camping Experience!

📍 Location: Portlick Campsite, Co. Athlone
📅 Dates: September 6th – 9th
💰 Weekend Ticket Price: €40 per person (Under 3s go free!)

Included Amenities:

  • Spacious pitches for large tents and camper vans.
  • Personal BBQs permitted at each pitch.
  • Shower facilities, toilets, and washing stations available onsite.
  • Large industrial walk-in fridge for storing cooler boxes.
  • Device charging point for your convenience.
  • Onsite Tuck shop
  • Access to the lake front through secure gate.
  • Enjoy a range of HEN activities/talks organized by the Home Education Network throughout the weekend.
  • Take part in exciting activities. Tickets sold separately.

Reserve your place today for a weekend of outdoor fun, family bonding, and unforgettable memories!

Day Adventure Ticket at Portlick Campsite for HEN Gathering

📍 Location: Portlick Campsite, Co. Athlone
🕒 Access Hours: 9am till late !
💼 Package: Day Ticket
💰 Price: €35 per family

Package Includes:

  • Engage in HEN activities and talks throughout the day, encouraging connections and community among homeschool families. A great way to make connections if you are new to homeschooling – come and join us!
  • Access to all available activities at Portlick Campsite for the day. Tickets sold separately.
  • Enjoy exciting adventures such as wall climbing, zip lining, archery, crate stacking, and more! Please purchase your tickets in advance; no tickets will be sold on the day.
  • Access to picnic areas for family relaxation and enjoyment.
  • Use of washing stations.
  • Access to a large industrial walk-in fridge for storing cooler boxes.
  • Simply enjoy your surroundings with a lakefront walk or 5km forest trail.
  • Experience our evening gathering with roasting marshmallows by the bonfire and a drumming session.

Important Notes:

  • Suitable for families of all ages.
  • Parents or guardians must supervise children at all times.
  • Limited tickets available; booking in advance is recommended.
  • Safety equipment and instructions provided by trained staff.


The gathering this year will be self-catering only.

Code of conduct


Treat everyone with kindness, respect, and consideration. We celebrate diversity and expect all attendees to do the same.


Embrace inclusivity and foster a welcoming environment for all participants, regardless of background, ethnicity, religion, or ability.


Prioritize the safety and well-being of yourself and others. Follow all safety guidelines and instructions provided by event staff and organizers.


Parents or guardians are responsible for the supervision of their children at all times during the event. Ensure that children are supervised and accounted for to prevent accidents or incidents.


Work together with event staff and volunteers to ensure the smooth running of activities and events. Follow instructions promptly and cooperate with any requests from organizers.


It takes a village to keep our communal areas clean. We are all volunteers, and if we can work together, we can maintain a clean and hygienic environment for everyone. Especially in toilets and showers, if there’s a spill, please mop it up. If more toilet roll or soap is needed, please refill; there will be stock readily available.


Communicate openly and respectfully with fellow attendees. If you have any concerns or issues, approach event staff or organizers for assistance.

Positive Attitude

Maintain a positive attitude and contribute to a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Encourage and uplift others to create a welcoming environment for all.


Adhere to all event policies, rules, and regulations outlined by the Home Education Network (HEN) and Portlick Campsite. Failure to comply may result in removal from the event premises.

Weekend Rules

Child Safety

Children must be supervised by a parent or nominated guardian at all times during the event.

No Pets

For the safety and comfort of all attendees, pets are not allowed on the campsite premises.


Cars must be parked in the designated parking area. Please follow instructions from event staff for parking arrangements.

Shower Times

Shower facilities are available for children between the hours of 10am and 6pm. After 6pm, shower facilities are designated for adult use only.

BBQ Safety

Personal BBQs are permitted at designated areas. Please ensure that BBQs are used safely and are fully extinguished after use. Attendees are responsible for disposing of BBQ waste properly.


Adhere to all event policies, rules, and regulations outlined by the Home Education Network (HEN) and Portlick Campsite. Failure to comply may result in removal from the event premises.

Campsite Curfew

The campsite curfew is at 10pm. Please be mindful of young families on the campsite and keep noise levels to a minimum.

Child Safety Policy


Children must be under the direct supervision of a parent or nominated guardian at all times during the event. Parents or guardians are responsible for ensuring that their children are accompanied and closely watched to ensure their safety and well-being.

Water Safety

Children should be closely supervised when near water bodies such as lakes or rivers on the campsite. Life jackets or floatation devices should be worn by children when participating in water activities. Parents are responsible for educating children about water safety and ensuring they understand the risks associated with water activities.

Fire Safety

Attendees must adhere to all fire safety regulations on the campsite. Open fires should be attended at all times, and fire safety equipment should be readily accessible. Parents should educate children about fire safety and ensure they understand the dangers of playing with fire.

Photography Consent

Attendees consent to the use of any photographs, videos, or other media captured during the event for promotional purposes by the Home Education Network (HEN) only.

Emergency Procedures

In the event of an emergency involving a child, event staff will follow established procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of the child, including notifying parents or guardians as necessary.

Child Protection

Any concerns regarding child safety or welfare should be reported immediately to event staff or organizers for appropriate action.

Parents’ Responsibility

It is the sole responsibility of parents or guardians to ensure that their children are supervised at all times, especially during activities and while using facilities on the campsite.

Photography Restriction

Photography by attendees other than HEN organisers is not permitted, except for personal use and with the consent of all individuals being photographed.

Shower Times

Shower facilities are available for children between the hours of 10am and 6pm. After 6pm, shower facilities are designated for adult use only.

Call for Activity Leaders and Organisers at The Gathering 2024

Dear Members of The Gathering 2024,

Do you have a talent or passion you’d love to share? We’re seeking volunteers to lead activities or talks during The Gathering 2024!

What: We’re looking for volunteers to organize and lead various activities or talks throughout The Gathering 2024.

When: September 6th to 9th.

Where: Portlick Campsite, Co. Athlone.

How to Volunteer:

Contact me at Let us know what activities or talks you’d like to lead!

For questions, contact us at

In appreciation of your efforts, we invite you to join us from the 5th of September for an additional night as a thank you to all our volunteers!

Warm regards,

Deanna McIlhatton

Events Coordinator

HEN Ireland

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