Visitors to the twin towns of Killaloe, Co Clare and Ballina, Co Tipperary are being invited to step back in time and experience a glimpse of life in medieval Ireland during the Brian Ború Millennium Weekend, which kicks off tomorrow (Friday) and continues through Sunday.
Battle re-enactments, Viking boat tours on the River Shannon, theatre, walking tours and music will bring the town’s medieval heritage and links to Brian Ború to life during the festival, which is being funded by Clare County Council, North Tipperary County Council and CLDC, Dept. of Heritage, Waterways Ireland, IPB Youth & Community Fund, Failte Ireland, Lakelands and Inland Waterways.
The Brian Ború Millennium Weekend is one of the flagship events of the Brian Ború Programme 2014. The all-island initiative features a series of commemorations in the four main locations with connections to the life and High Kingship of Brian Ború; namely Killaloe Ballina which was the seat of Brian’s High Kingship of Ireland (1001-1014AD), Cashel where Brian was crowned High King of Ireland, Clontarf where Brian was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin at the Battle of Clontarf, and the City of Armagh where Brian is buried.
Mayor of Clare Councillor Mr Joe Arkins commented: “Clare County Council is delighted to partner with the local community of Killaloe Ballina in celebrating the life and achievements of one of its most famous citizens. The Millennium Weekend forms part of a national Programme which the Council is delighted to lead in an effort to ensure that the Brian Ború millennial anniversary is established as an important cultural and tourism activity which lays the platform for further cultural and tourism development in future years.”
Mayor Arkins noted that Clare County Council will also be holding its April monthly meeting next Monday in Killaloe, which he said “was once the de-facto capital of Ireland.”
According to Ms Úna Kierse, Chairperson of the Killaloe Ballina Millennium Weekend: “The people of Killaloe and Ballina are deeply proud of their close links with an individual who is arguably one of the most high profile and influential figures in Irish history. Planning for this weekend’s festival has been ongoing for over a year and we are delighted to be able to showcase our towns’ rich heritage to a wider audience, which we hope will have long-lasting, positive consequences for tourism in the area for years to come.”
Ms. Kierse said: “Visitors will be spoiled for things to do, with art, theatre, games, historical re-enactments, puppetry, music, sport and food all on offer across the twin towns over the weekend, which is just one of many cultural highlights in a busy calendar of Ború themed fare.”
The Brian Ború Millennium Weekend gets underway tomorrow evening (Friday, 11th April) when re-enactors depicting Brian Ború and key characters from the time await the arrival of their Viking allies by longboat to Ballina Quay on the shores of Lough Derg.
At midday on Saturday 12th April, a guided historical walk will take place around Brian Ború’s Killaloe, punctuated by specially commissioned theatrical performances featuring up to 80 re-enactors from all over Ireland. The 90-minute tour will introduce participants to Brian Ború’s story and his life in Killaloe 1000 years ago. St. Flannan’s Cathedral in Killaloe will host an evening of drama and music at 8.00pm on Saturday April 12th. Re-enactors, accompanied by old and contemporary music, will relive scenes from the life of Brian, his troublesome wife Gormlaith, his inspiring Goddess Aoibheal, and his faithful son Murrough. A series of other events are also scheduled for Sunday April 13th, including a “Pig on the Spit” medieval feast.