Loughrea Medieval Festival Food & Craft Market

River Art Supplies announced Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition Winners

River Art Supplies announced Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition Winners

On the run up to the Loughrea Medieval Festival 28th-30th August, businesses in Loughrea were invited to take part in the Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition.

Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee in partnership with Loughrea Chamber of Commerce are delighted to announce the ‘Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition’ Winner is River Art Supplies, Main Street, Loughrea.

River Art Supplies Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition Loughrea

Due to the effort and standard of window displays this year, two ‘Highly Commended’ awards have also been announced (in no particular order)
Brogan’s total health Pharmacy, Main Street, Loughrea

Brogan's total health Pharmacy Loughrea
It’s U Hair Salon/It’s U Mo Chúisle, Dunkellin Street, Loughrea

Big thank you to Loughrea Chamber of Commerce and to all the businesses in Loughrea who supported the Loughrea Medieval Festival this year.

Loughrea’s Second Medieval Festival a Great Success

Loughrea’s Second Medieval Festival a Great Success

Loughrea’s Second Medieval Festival a Great Success

Loughrea was packed to capacity last weekend with 14858 people from at home and abroad attending the various events held in the town of Loughrea as part of Loughrea’s Medieval Festival.

Cllr. Michael Maher, Chairperson Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee said that ‘The partnership between local businesses, local communities, Galway County Council, The Irish Walled Towns Network and the Heritage Council in developing the Medieval Festival is very welcome and much needed to promote and sustain our community, our heritage and be a driver for tourism for the town and hinterland.’

The weekend commenced with a wonderful Medieval Banquet in the Loughrea Hotel and Spa. Over 250 people attend this night of fun and merriment and several dressed up in very impressive medieval costumes.
The Temperance Hall was the centre of medieval creativity for over 450 children where they part-took in medieval games and archaeologist Anne Carey introduced a number of them to the skills of medieval calligraphy and investigated the amazing gold works of the period. Over 400 people attended the jousting picnic at the ‘Walks’ where medieval Knights battled it out on horse-back.

The Temperance Hall was also the venue for an outstanding puppet shows and paper bag puppet making by Carmel Balfe. Carmel and her puppet show was a great hit with all the children and the adults on the day.

Loughrea Library hosted two packed to capacity heritage lectures one was a fascinating lecture by Clodagh Doyle from the National Museum about early hair hurling balls, while Dr. Jim McKeon gave a very insightful talk on the archaeology of medieval Loughrea. This was followed by genealogical workshops from Western Family History Association, East Galway Genealogical Centre and Ireland Reaching Out.

Several restaurants, pubs, bakeries and businesses offered medieval fine dining and sustinance over the weekend and a number of shops decorated their windows with various medieval themes.

Over 100 people took the opportunity to visit Clonfert Diocesan museum and view their wonderful medieval collection that includes the Kilcorban Madonna that dates from c1180AD and the ‘Matheus Macraith’ chalice that is over 500 years old.

New additions to the weekend this year was the medieval tavern trail, the tug-o-war and the medieval busking competition that drew large crowds.

In excess of 240 people attended a wonderful Latin mass in the ruins of the Carmelite Abbey. It was a very moving and atmospheric event with mass commencing at dusk. There mellifluous singing of the choir added to the ambience of the mass. Many of those in attendance had never been in the ruined abbey previously.

People had the opportunity to travel back in time to medieval Loughrea where they could see a 3D model of the town with its moat, earthen banks, the priory, castle and see the inhabitants who lived in the town. This project is being developed by Realsim, a gaming company and is being funded by Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee, Galway County Council and the Heritage Council.

Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer, Galway County Council said ‘Galway County Council, the Heritage Council and the Irish Walled Town Networks are very pleased to work with and assist Loughrea Medieval Festival in developing this excellent festival for the Medieval town of Loughrea’. She added that ‘it was important to raise awareness, understanding and knowledge of the incredible medieval asset the town possesses and to use this potential for educational, tourism and economic benefits’.

Sunday saw a group of over 100 people start the day off with heritage walks around the town with Colman Shaughnessy and Joe Loughnane. This was followed by a Grand Clan Parade and then by a Walled Towns Family Fun Day. There was an exciting and varied number of displays and events held during the day such as a medieval weapons talk and demonstration, butter making, spinning, basket making, leather works, archers, potters, blacksmiths, woodturning, traditional crafts workshops, archaeological dig, bee keeping, circus skills workshops, traditional games, bubble blowing with fairy stilt walkers, the medieval photo booth, medieval Olympics, boat trips on the lake and an amazing falconry display.

It also saw the launch a special commemorative Loughrea Medieval Coin by Cllr. Peter Roche, Cathaoirleach, Galway County Council. This was followed by the launch of Dr. Fiona Beglane’s magnificent book on ‘Anglo-Norman Parks in Ireland’. The publication includes Earlspark townland near Loughrea which is the best preserved example of a deerpark from this period.

Michelle Mitchell, Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee said ‘the Festival was designed to appeal to people of all ages and was very much inter-generational and family focused. It was also programmed to be interactive and to have a strong medieval educational and awareness building theme’. She added that ‘the committee is very pleased with the number of people attending the event’ and commended all the local people who gave so much of their time in a voluntary capacity to make the weekend an amazing free festival for all.’

Digital 3D Reconstruction of Medieval Loughrea

Digital 3D Reconstruction of Medieval Loughrea

Digital 3D Reconstruction of Medieval Loughrea

Few buildings in Loughrea survive from the medieval period and so Loughrea Medieval Festival committee, with support from Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer with Galway County Council set about providing a 3D vision on the town’s heritage. Thanks to funded by The Heritage Council and Galway County Council, RealSim Galway created a Digital 3D Reconstruction of Medieval Loughrea.

The PhD thesis of Dr. Jim McKeon, ‘Anglo-Norman Frontier Urban Settlement in the Plantagent Realm: Studies from South Connacht’ was used as the main reference document, with Dr Jim McKeon himself acting as advisor on the project.

The use of digitally recreated models not only provides an historical interpretation of Loughrea, but also allows for an interactive educational experience.

Phase 1 of this project gives an overview of Loughrea town and its surrounding landscape and places focus upon St. Mary’s Medieval Carmelite Abbey.

This project was officially launched as part of Loughrea Medieval Festival, on Saturday, 29th August, following Medieval Mass at St. Mary’s Carmelite Abbey. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, a Visual Presentation of the project was viewed on the night by 240 people. A preview was shown to 250 people at the festival Medieval Banquet on Friday, 28th August.

View Phase 1 of Digital 3D Reconstruction of Medieval Loughrea online

Loughrea's 4th Medieval Festival gets go-ahead after Council funding boast

Loughrea Medieval Festival Brochure 2015

Loughrea Medieval Festival 2015

Loughrea Medeival Festival – ‘Gathering of the Clans’
Friday, 28th August – Sunday, 30th August, 2015

Click on the image above, or View the 2015 Loughrea Medieval Festival Brochure

Thanks to partnership with the Heritage Council, Irish Walled Towns Network and Galway County Council, all events on Saturday and Sunday are free of charge. With events ranging from a medieval clan banquet at the Lough Rea Hotel on Friday, 28th August, engaging talks, a special commemorative coin and traditional games, there is something to keep the whole family entertained. Experience all that the middle ages has to offer at Loughrea Walled Towns Day on Sunday 30th, with the grand can parade, living history demonstrations, circus skills workshops, hands on crafts, falconry demonstrations, a food and craft market and lots more.

Galway County Council support Loughrea Medieval Festival under Community Support Scheme 2016

Go Explore the Medieval Heritage of Loughrea and Athenry

Go Explore the Medieval Heritage of Loughrea and Athenry

On Monday, 24th August, 2015 join Dr. Christy Cunniffe on a journey to uncover some of the hidden medieval heritage of the Loughrea and Athenry area. The bus tour will take place from 10:00 AM to 17:30 PM departing from Galway County Council Offices, Barrack Street, Loughrea.

Organized by Galway County Council Heritage Office during National Heritage Week, this event is being organized in partnership with Athenry Walled Town Day Committee and Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee.

This is a free bus tour, but booking is essential, as there is limited availability. Telephone 091 509121, or Email gsmyth@galwaycoco.ie to book your place.

Please bring a packed lunch and water, as well as suitable clothing and footwear for walking and the weather.

Not suitable for children. No wheelchair access.

Dé Luain 24ú Lúnasa
Cuir eolas ar Oidhreacht Mheánaoiseach Bhaile Locha Riach agus Bhaile Átha an Rí

Tabharfaidh an Dr Christy Cunniffe ar aistear tú ina gcuirfidh tú eolas ar oidhreacht cheilte Bhaile Locha Riach agus Bhaile Átha an Rí ón Mheánaois.

Teacht le Chéile: Oifigí Chomhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe, Baile Locha Riach

Am: 10.00am go dtí tuairim is 17.50pm

Ní mór áit a chuir in áirithe: Déan teagmháil le do thoil le Grainne Smyth
Ríomhphost- gsmyth@galwaycoco.ie Teil 091509121

Costas: Saor in Aisce
Níl feiliúnach do leanaí
Gan rochtain ag cathaoireacha rothaí

Tabhair leat lón agus uisce, bíodh bróga oiriúnacha ort le dul ag siúl agus éadach
le haghaidh na haimsire.

Oifig Oidhreachta, Chomhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe atá ag eagrú an imeachta seo
i gcomhar le Coiste Lá Bhaile Múrtha Bhaile Locha Riach agus le Coiste Fhéile
Mheánaoiseach Bhaile Locha Riach.

Website: heritage.galwaycommunityheritage.org

Community Tourism Diaspora Initiative 2016

Loughrea Medieval Festival approved for Community Tourism Diaspora Initiative

Loughrea Medieval Festival approved for Community Tourism Diaspora Initiative

Loughrea Medieval Festival are delighted to receive news, via Galway County Council Evaluation panel for the Community Tourism Diaspora Initiative, that the Loughrea Medieval Festival (28th – 30th August, 2015) has been approved for the maximum sum of €1500.

The Community Tourism Diaspora Initiative 2015 is a joint partnership between Galway County Council (galway.ie), IPB Insurance (ipb.ie) and Fáilte Ireland (failteireland.ie).

The amount awarded will be based on the number of overseas visitors attending the Loughrea Medieval Festival weekend. The minimum offered under this initiative is €500 and the maximum €3,000.

Loughrea's 4th Medieval Festival gets go-ahead after Council funding boast

Festival committee welcome chamber support for Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition

Festival committee welcome chamber support for Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition

Forming part of the Loughrea Medieval Festival (28th-30th August, 2015) the festival committee in partnership with Loughrea Chamber of Commerce are running the Best Dressed Medieval Window Display Competition.
Loughrea Chamber of Commerce
Loughrea Chamber of Commerce is an independent body made up of local Business and Professional individuals whose objectives include making a positive contribution to the strategic development of the town thus ensuring Loughrea continues to be a great place to visit, live and do business in, while at the same time ensuring we retain our unique heritage, culture and identity.

This competition is open to all the businesses in the town, and free to enter, so whether you are a shop, a hotel, bars, hairdressers, beauticians, an office, a restaurant, a café, or another business in Loughrea – if you decorate your window with a Medieval theme, and submit your details, you are in the competition and have the opportunity to win the Festival Perpetual Shield Trophy.
Loughrea Medieval Festival Best Dressed Window Competition

Yu Me Yu Me on Dunkellin Street won the 2014 Best Dressed Medieval Window Competition. A small town cafe, Yu Me Yu Me offer Crepes, Mauds scoop Ice Cream, All Day Breakfast, and lots more. Winners, Mary Carmel Hession, and Uschi Daberkow were presented with a Perpetual Shield to mark their success.

Last year over 8,000 people attended a range of events in the medieval town of Loughrea. This year we want to build on this, with a exciting program of events, and invite businesses in our community to embrace this years medieval festival theme ‘Gathering of the Clans’.

Thanks to partnership with the Heritage Council, Irish Walled Towns Network, and Galway County Council, all events on Saturday 29th August and Sunday 30th August are free of charge.

Loughrea Medieval Festival voluntary organising committee would like to thank Loughrea Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring, and supporting this event.

Loughrea Chamber of Commerce website discoverloughrea.com | Facebook: facebook.com/discoverloughrea

Galway County Council support Loughrea Medieval Festival under Community Support Scheme 2016

Galway County Council support Loughrea Medieval Festival under Community Support Scheme 2015

Galway County Council support Loughrea Medieval Festival under Community Support Scheme 2015

A small voluntary committee formed in February 2014, and following a meeting with Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer with Galway County Council – Loughrea Medieval Festival was born. A few months later over 8,000 people attended a range of heritage and cultural events here in the town of Loughrea County Galway.

You quickly start to realise how much time and effort goes in to planning and bringing the festival to fruition – of which would not be possible with the sponsors and many partners and supporters of the event.

Loughrea Medieval Festival is set to return for a second year and would like to acknowledge the support of Galway County Council.

Great news for Loughrea Medieval Festival, and the town of Loughrea this morning, as the festival committee received written confirmation that the Loughrea Medieval Festival 28th-30th August, 2015 have been approved heritage support funding by Galway County Council under the Community Support Scheme 2015. This funding will make a healthy difference to the free events planned for the public on Saturday 29th & Loughrea Walled Towns Day on Sunday 30th August.

Big thank you to Galway County Council.

Galway County Council support Loughrea Medieval Festival under Community Support Scheme 2015

A trip to King John's Castle Limerick

A trip to King Johns Castle

A trip to King Johns Castle

Have you been to King John’s Castle? If not, you should. It’s a 2015 insightful, educational, but fun window into our historical past. Following Shannon Heritage’s €6 million revamp in 2013, and subsequent positive reviews, I’ve been itching to take the family for a visit. Yesterday was the day.

An hour’s drive from Loughrea, King John’s Castle in the heart of medieval Limerick City has a strong 13th Century connection. With the Normans coming to Ireland in 1169, they started to make themselves at home, learning the language, customs, and marrying into influential families. They started to build a castle in Limerick making it a Royal city, under the direct rule of King John of England “Lord of Ireland” (planned and built between 1200 & 1212).

(Young and not so young might be interested to know that King John was the brother of Richard the Lionheart, associated with the Robin Hood legend & the Knights’ of the Round Table.)

Our self-guided tour began at the visitor centre. If reading information panels isn’t your thing (or just difficult to do with a couple of kids to look after, ahem!), this centre is nicely balanced with state of the art audio visuals, interpretive activities and exhibitions. The kids had fun with the interactive touch screens, discovery draws, 3D models, trying on the historical costumes. But, there is so much more to explore.

Standing in the castle’s courtyard you can get a real sense its strength. From here we explored the blacksmiths forge, the great hall (1280), and the medieval campaign tent. One of the oldest surviving features of the castle is the 1212 twin towered gatehouse (one of which houses the 13th century armoury).

We enjoyed the Castle mint, where King John, as “Lord of Ireland” minted his own coins. As well as the medieval connection running through the castle, there are references to the early Gaelic Society, the Vikings, and lots of insightful information on the sieges of 1642, 1651, and 1690/91. We also enjoyed the modern section just above the cafe, where you can view information and finds on the archaeological excavations carried out onsite in the 1990s. Among the finds was a gold stirrup ring (mid to late 13th century) found in the great hall.

We purchased a family ticket on the day, for 2 A & 2 Children for €21.50, but there is a slight discount for booking online – Family 2A&2C €20.60, Family 2A and up to 6 children €23.50; Adult €8, and children under 5 are free. There is lots more that I have not mentioned here, for a fun and educational day out for kids and adults alike, I would definitely recommend a visit.

Michelle (Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee Volunteer)

To find out more view King John’s Castle on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KingJohnsCastle

Medieval deer park found in Loughrea

Medieval deer park found in Loughrea

Medieval deer park found in Loughrea

An Irish Anglo-Norman-period deer park, which lies 2 km south-east of Loughrea, is exceptionally well preserved.

This month sees the publication of a paper by archaeologist Dr Fiona Beglane in the international journal Medieval Archaeology. The paper examines the archaeological and historical evidence for a 13th-century deer park at Earlspark, Loughrea, Co Galway. This is the first detailed study of an Irish Anglo-Norman-period park to be published, and the site, which lies 2 km south-east of Loughrea, is exceptionally well preserved. It is documented in 1333, along with its deer, and field survey in the area has identified the park, which is still surrounded by a mortared stone wall 7.4 km long and standing up to 2.6 m in height.

Dr Beglane first identified the park in 2009, and has spent a number of years researching this and other medieval parks in Ireland. Large medieval parks such as the one at Earlspark, which is 913 acres in size, were designed as places to keep deer, they provided a source of venison for the lord’s table and were used for hunting and other leisure activities.

A radiocarbon date from a sample of charcoal in the mortar of the park wall showed that it had been built between 1251 and 1297. The date range lies perfectly between the founding of the town of Loughrea by Richard de Burgh in 1236 and the documentary evidence of the park being in existence by 1333. It ties the construction of the wall to the time of either Walter de Burgh (inherited 1248, died 1271) or his son Richard de Burgh, the Red Earl (died 1326). The construction of the park was an immense achievement, and would have used over 31,000 tonnes of limestone. Dr Beglane said “this was the ultimate status symbol of its day, something like owning a private jet or a yacht – to build it today would cost around €7 million excluding land costs”

Dr Fiona Beglane is a lecturer of archaeology at the Institute of Technology, Sligo and a consultant zooarchaeologist. She has an interest in hunting, medieval landscapes and settlement and in the use of scientific techniques in archaeology.  She has a particular interest in integrating scientific and social/cultural interpretations of archaeology and in examining the interaction of humans and animals. Details of her other work can be found at https://itsligo.academia.edu/fionabeglane

The full reference for the paper is: Beglane, Fiona (2014) “Theatre of Power: the Anglo-Norman park at Earlspark, Co. Galway, Ireland” Medieval Archaeology, 58, 307-317 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/0076609714Z.00000000040.
Suitable high resolution photographs can be accessed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/22472955@N06/sets/72157648990224310/

“Nora Novar, the de Burghs, and the Medieval Park at Earlspark Loughrea”, a talk by Dr Fiona Beglane took place in Loughrea Library on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 as part of Loughrea’s 1st Medieval Festival.

For more information, Dr Beglane can be contacted via Email: beglane.fiona@itsligo.ie