Staged in conjunction with the Irish Country Lifestyle Festival, the Medieval Festival in its very atmospheric
location in the old Castle ruins in their magical setting on the banks of Lough Neagh. Lough Neagh is situated at the heart of Northern
Ireland and is not only the UK's largest inland waterway but the subject of many myths and legends. As such there can be no finer
Irish setting for what has rapidly become Ireland's premier medieval event and a major event in its own right.
However the combination of the Medieval Festival with the Country Lifestyle
Festival (undoubtedly Ireland's premier Game and Country Fair
www.irishcountrylifestyle.com) and the water based Lough Neagh Festival
makes the overall event a really fantastic and unsurpassed day out for the
In 2005/2006 the massive crowds who thronged round the castle and the main site
were treated to a veritable feast of spectacular entertainment including some
of the very best professional performers and re-enactment groups from the four
nations of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales in an exhilarating mix of
authenticity and showmanship and in 2007 we consider we have an even better
programme of authentically historically correct medieval entertainment But with
all the thrills, spills and action of the movie screen.
From Wales come Drudion
- Drudion translates as "warriors" in old Welsh or "reckless ones" in new Welsh
and members of the group represent Welsh mercenaries from the 13th Century, the
time of the three Plantagenet Kings; Richard I, John, Henry III and also of the
Welsh Prince - Llyweln ab Iorwerth. Drudion's relaxed , friendly and
interactive living history encampment made up yet another part of the medieval
village with demonstrations of dyeing, weaving, spinning, cooking, story
telling, a medieval Court of Justice, herbal cures, chain mail making,
fletching and games. Weapons and warfare also form part of the encampment (well
they are Welsh mercenaries!) with displays of the fighting techniques of the
era including single combat.
The Loch Cuan Bowmen
- This local group will be staging displays of longbow archery and giving the
public the opportunity to try their skill at this most ancient form of warfare,
hunting and skill.
The Veils Of Finvola
- A Local group led by Maria Clarke with her wolfhounds Sheeva and Morgan, they
take their name from The Gem of the Roe :
"In the land of O'Cahan where bleak mountains rise
O'er whose brown ridgy tops now the dusky cloud flies
Deep sunk in a valley a wild flower did grow
And her name was Finola,the gem of the Roe"
Founded in March 2006 to offer information and practical exhibitions of life in
medieval times. They will feature Exhibitions of embroidery, tapestry and
costumes and soft furnishing of the era and provide Lady Marion and the Antrim
Hound for the historical pageant "The Battle of the Antrim Hound".
"Back in the 17th century, Marion, wife of Hugh Clotworthy, often walked
through the woods to the Lough Shore. One day a wolf startled her. She fainted
and on recovering she saw the wolf was dead. Lying beside her, licking her hand
was her defender - an Irish wolfhound. With gratitude the wolfhound was taken
to the Castle and cared for until one day it mysteriously disappeared. One
stormy night the howling of a wolfhound was heard high over the wind, startling
the wardens of the Castle, who quickly lit beacon fires only to see their enemy
gathering below. The hound had raised the alarm and at dawn the occupants of
the Castle saw standing on the highest turret a figure of the dog transformed
into stone. The legend is commemorated in a statue carved in 1612."
The North Irish Dragoons
- From Ireland come the North Irish Dragoons. This newly formed mounted
re-enactment society has rapidly emerged as one of the best turned and
authentically dressed out re-enactment groups in the UK of Ireland. Their
superb mounted military manoeuvres bring a tremendous new attraction to the
From the Borders of England
- linking the Black Death, the 100 years war, the tudor age, the life on the
Scottish/English Borders in the 16th Century - The Steel Bonnets or Border
Reivers. The group portay all aspects of everyday life of the time including
food, entertainment, daily tasks, politics, training and combat. With Claiomh
they will mount an arena skirmish display and an attack on the old keep at
Shanes Castle featuring muskets and hand to hand sword fighting to recreate the
legend of the "Antrim Hound".
Also from England Grunal Moneta
- endorsed by the British Museum HSBC Money Gallery this is Dave Greenhalgh's
second visit to Shanes Castle. Making coins for all periods from Celtic to
Tudor in the original way - hand struck, not cast - visitors are able to strike
their own coin at this interactive and entertaining display.
And last but not least from England
- We welcome you to view one of the oldest and finest demonstrations of
The Independent Horse
brings to life for your enjoyment "The Joust.
The commentator will set the scene with tails of chivalry from across the land
as he introduces the knights into the tournament field. The knights will prove
their worth to enter the tournament by facing the quintain and competing in
other skill events. Then the knights will joust and fight each other until
there is one victor. Knights from across the land will normally compete in this
oldest of honourable games with the strictest codes of conduct.
However this jousting team is one of the most exciting in terms of horsemanship
and lifelike combat and as the passion for victory and the roar of the crowd
increases, the codes may be bent and the game dismissed as old rivalries lead
to brutal combat. All may not be as it seems as the Black Knight seeks to come
out on top!
Other attractions include music, including haunting pipe music from Steve
"Braveheart" and other groups, medieval traders and healers and the attendance
of other medieval players from all over Ireland.
This is a real Medieval Festival which because of the authentic nature of the
re-enactments, costumes and village layout should prove provide families with
an educational experience as well as unsurpassed entertainment. This Festival
should not be confused with medieval sideshows or "Medialfests" advertised at
other events. It is a major attraction in its own right and when organised in
conjunction with the many other attractions of the IRISH COUNTRY LIFESTYLE
FESTIVAL provides unrivalled value for money family entertainment!
For other attractions see : www.irishcountrylifestyle, the Summer edition of
the Irish Countrysports and Country Life magazine (in the shops 22nd May) ; or
call 028 90483873 E: email@example.com