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 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- 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.


Loughrea Family Fun Day

Loughrea Family Fun Day

Loughrea Medieval Festival are hosting a Family Fun Day in the Temperance Hall, Barrack Street, Loughrea on Sunday, 14th June 2-6pm.

Enjoy giant Jenga, Skittles, Twister & Snakes & ladders, lots of Board Games, Children’s activity tables, Stalls, Cake Sale, Tea/Coffee & more.

Free entry. Your support is welcome. In aid of Loughrea Medieval Festival taking place 28th-30th August, 2015.


Irish Walled Towns Conference

Irish Walled Towns Conference

Irish Walled Towns Conference

Irish Walled Towns Past, Present & Future Free Conference will take place on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 in Athenry, from 10am – 4.45pm.

This conference has been organised by the Heritage Office, Galway County Council, Athenry Walled Town Day Committee, Athenry Art and Heritage Centre, Galway County Heritage Forum & the Irish Walled Town Network, and has been funded by Galway County Council and the Heritage Council.

10.00am – 10:30am Registration tea/coffee
10.30am- 10.45am Welcome by Cllr. Peter Feeney, Chairperson, Athenry Walled Towns Committee and Official Opening of the Conference by Cllr Peter Roche, Cathaoirleach, Galway County Council

10:45am – 12:00 noon Conservation & Management

  • ‘Athenry Town Walls: Conservation & Presentation’ by Fergal McNamara, Howley Hayes Architects
  • ‘Kilmallock Towns Walls: Protection and Consolidation’ by Sarah McCutcheon

12:00 noon – 12.15pm Tea/Coffee

12:15pm – 1:00pm Strategy
‘How Irish Tourism is Doing’ by Rory McCarthy, Fáilte Ireland.
This presentation will include:

  • International Tourism (numbers, profile and preferences)
  • Domestic tourism (numbers, profile and preferences)
  • The tourism Barometer
  • Update on the Wild Atlantic Way Project
  • Update on the Ireland’s Ancient East Project

1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch

2.00pm – 2:15pm Launch of Booklet ‘Athenry Town Walls: Past & Present’

2:15pm – 3:15pm Walled Town Days & Other Heritage Initiatives

  • ‘Good Cause for Civic Pride – the Medieval Heritage of Athenry &
    Loughrea’ by Dr. Jim McKeon
  • ‘Working With the Walls: A Living History Approach’ by Dave Swift
  • ‘Loughrea Medieval Festival’ by Cllr. Michael Maher, Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee
  • ‘Lismore, Where the Past is Always Present’ by Mealla Fahey

3.15pm – 3:30pm Tea/coffee

3.30pm – 4:30pm Interpretation

  • ‘Heritage interpretation for historic towns’ by Liam Mannix
  • ‘Sieges Great and Small – Martello’s Current Work in Derry and Valletta’ by Mark Leslie, Martello Media
  • ‘Bringing an Historical Map to Life – Building 3D Medieval Galway.’ Gavin Duffy (Real Sim)

4.30pm – 4.45pm Questions and Answers

To register for this free event please contact:
Grainne Smyth, Forward Planning, Galway County Council, Prospect Hill, Galway. Phone: 091 509121, or Email:

Click on link to view full brochure, including biographies Irish Walled Towns Past, Present & Future

Irish Walled Towns Conference

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 (, IPB Insurance ( and Fáilte Ireland (

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 | Facebook:

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

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

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:
Suitable high resolution photographs can be accessed at

“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:

A Short Hisory of Athenry & Loughrea Walled Towns

A short history of Loughrea and Athenry Walled Towns now available Online

A short history of Loughrea and Athenry Walled Towns now available Online

‘A Short History of Athenry & Loughrea Walled Towns’, a Medieval Comic Book involving 6th Class pupils from St. Brendan’s Boys N.S. Loughrea, along with our Medieval neighbours, 5th Class pupils from Lisheenkyle N.S. Athenry is now available to view online, and download for free, thanks to Alan Burgess and team at Athenry Heritage Centre.

The comic includes super detailed illustrations by Damien Goodfellow, activity pages, as well as the students artwork.

Assisted by Archaeologist Dr. Christy Cunniffe, and Graphic Designer Damien Goodfelllow, Galway County Council Heritage Officer Marie Mannion, Alan Burgess Athenry Heritage Centre, and Loughrea Medieval Festival committee member Michelle Mitchell, the students were given an insight into the people, places, and buildings of each Medieval town, and how they are connected. The resulting comic was launched during National Heritage Week, as part of Loughrea’s 1st Medieval Festival.

Click image to view comic…

A short history of Loughrea and Athenry Walled Towns now available Online

This exciting project was funded by The Heritage Council, Galway County Council, and Irish Walled Towns Network, and developed by Galway County Council, Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee, Athenry Walled Town Committee, and Athenry Heritage Centre.

Loughrea Medieval Festival shortlisted for Best Contribution to Heritage Award

Loughrea Medieval Festival shortlisted for Best Contribution to Heritage Award

Loughrea Medieval Festival has been selected as one of the five finalists for the Cathaoirleach’s Community Awards 2014 for ‘Best Contribution to Heritage Award’.

Previously known as the County Mayors Awards, the Awards recognise and celebrate the work that individuals, groups, organisations and schools in County Galway contribute to their communities. There are 12 categories:

  1. Community Economic Initiative Award
  2. Environmental Award
  3. Sports Award
  4. Arts & Culture Award
  5. Heritage Publication Award
  6. Schools Contribution to Heritage or Irish Language Award
  7. Best Contribution to Heritage Award
  8. Best Contribution to the Irish Language (Gaeltacht)
  9. Best Contribution to the Irish Language (non- Gaeltacht)
  10. Age Friendly Award
  11. Social Inclusion Award
  12. Volunteer of the Year Award

The Best Contribution to Heritage Award recognises the efforts that community groups have made to the heritage of their area.

Loughrea Medieval Festival and Athenry Walled Towns have also been shortlisted for the ‘Heritage Publication Award’ for our joint project, the Medieval Comic Book, ‘A Short History of Athenry & Loughrea Walled Towns’.

An Awards Ceremony will take place in the Claregalway Hotel November 27th. Fingers crossed!