Medieval Festival

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The 2007 Irish Medieval Festival

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 and the water based Lough Neagh Festival makes the overall event a really fantastic and unsurpassed day out for the whole family.

Medieval Village

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.


From Ireland

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".

Lady Marion and theAntrim 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 main arena.

The North Irish Dragoons

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.

Coin Striking

And last but not least from England - We welcome you to view one of the oldest and finest demonstrations of horsemanship as 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: