Athlone Castle will host its seventh annual Medieval Fair this coming weekend, the 31st August and 1st September 2019 from 12 noon to 5pm. The fair takes place in collaboration with the Society for Creative Anachronism and this year will run in conjunction with the Athlone River Festival. The Athlone Castle Medieval Fair is supported by the Heritage Council and the fair is a celebration of living history, customs, pastimes, lifestyle and entertainment.
Athlone Castle will be a hive of activity with events and activities for all the family over the two days. Through collaboration with the Society for Creative Anachronism and living history merchants and facilitators, visitors will get an opportunity to step back in time and experience a busy medieval fair in action. This years’ Medieval Fair will commence with a parade from the band stand across the River Shannon towards Athlone Castle at 11am on both days, culminating in a festival atmosphere in the grounds of the towns’ historic castle.
From 12pm to 5pm each day, several different exhibitors will showcase their expertise in Medieval ranging from; Michael Moylan of Irish History Live, who will display his range of medieval weapons and discuss medieval warfare in depth with all those attending. Susanna Anker, demonstrating the art of wool-spinning, weaving and dying and people will see the authentic process of spinning wool from the very first stages. Jack Pinson, Master Bowyer with the Craft Guild of Bowyers and Fletchers will discuss the creation of medieval and Tudor era war-bows and their prowess on European battlefields between 1170-1600. Come and talk to the master, while he recreates historical bows as you watch! Galway Early Music will provide a spectacle of music and dance from the medieval period. Hear the music of medieval Europe and Ireland and see some of the fascinating instruments they were played on! With lively medieval dances, songs, and aristocratic art music, the Red Earl’s Consort will bring the special atmosphere of Athlone Castle alive with the sounds of history.
Animal Magic will be in attendance to exhibit falconry and wild bird displays and aim to share the pleasure and excitement of falconry, and to impart some of the experiences they have had over the last 30 years handling, flying and rehabilitating these totally fascinating creatures.
Throughout the weekend, the Midland’s branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism will be on site at Athlone Castle re-enacting a broad range of customs and activities, including; armoured combat, fencing, comic jousting, feasting, medieval dance and recreating medieval arts and sciences and crafts as well as medieval music and theatre.
The Castle will also play host to several children’s arts and crafts drop-in workshops and face painting. These workshops are aimed at 4-11 year old’s and will focus on creating crowns, shields and maybe even a sword or two.
Fringe events have been added to the Medieval Fair programme this year and they include;
A children’s Falcon Making Art & Craft Workshop at Luan Gallery on Saturday 31st August. There are two sessions, one is suitable for; 4-7 year olds from 10:00am -11:30am and the second is suitable for 8-12 years from 11:45am – 1:15pm
€7.50 per child, participants of the workshop will gain free access to the Medieval Fair at Athlone Castle.
Also this year, the castle approach will be filled with the sounds, smells and creations of the West Bank Food, Arts and Craft Market which will be located alongside the west bank of the River Shannon in front of the castle on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September from 11.30am – 5.30pm.
A free Walking Tour of Medieval Athlone, with historian, Donal O’Brien will take place on Saturday 31st August from 2pm – 3pm. The starting point will be at the bottom of the castle ramp.
A solo exhibition from the internationally acclaimed Irish artist, Conor Walton is open for viewing at the Luan Gallery and a Children’s Art exhibition in the lower Boardwalk gallery at Luan Gallery from 12pm – 5pm.
Serendipity, a group exhibition of encaustic works from past students of Artist, Rosemarie Langtry is on display at the Atrium of the Civic Centre from 10am – 1.30 pm on Saturday 31st August.
Dr. Rory Sherlock, author of the guidebook to Athlone Castle, first published in 2016, will present an illustrated talk on the history of the castle at 7pm in Luan Gallery and will discuss the early Gaelic activity on the site, the building of the Royal castle in 1210 and the evolution of the monument over the centuries. The talk is free but advance bookings are advised as places are limited Tel: +353 90 6442130 .
The Medieval Fair will be primarily located in the courtyard and upper battlements of Athlone Castle and will be open on both days from 11am to 5pm. Tickets will be available on the gate or by booking in advance online and visitors will have access to the fair and the castle visitor centre all day. Admission prices are: Adult single €8, Student/Senior €6, Child €3, Family (2Ad & 2Ch) €20, Extra Child €1.50
Advance bookings are advised to avoid disappointment for attendance at the Children’s workshops at Luan Gallery(fee paying tel +353 90 6442130 ), the Walking tours (free – tel: +353 90 6442130 ) and the Historical talk by Dr. Rory Sherlock (free – tel +353 90 6442130 ) can be made on www.athlonecastle.ie and full details of the programme of events are available on the website.
Athlone Castle Medieval Fair was supported by The Heritage Council