Medieval Festival 2011
On Sunday last 21st August 2011, visitors once again flocked in their thousands to the stunning surroundings of St. Mary’s College Gardens in Youghal for the 5th Annual Youghal Medieval Festival. Events were planned to coincide with The Irish Walled Towns Network celebrations of National Heritage Week.
Official figures on the day saw in excess of 6,000 people visit the free annual event over the course of the day. The Heritage Council of Ireland undertook a series of surveys at the event, with initial results showing that there was a huge surge in people attending from outside the region. “This year in particular we seem to have attracted visitors making their way from far and wide”, commented Clodagh Mahon who conducted the surveys. “I interviewed visitors who had made their way from Carlow, Kilkenny and beyond, but also met with families from overseas, the UK in particular, who had actually planned their stay around the event, which in turn delivers a great spin-off for the town.”
Celebrations kicked off at 12.00 pm where the ‘Medieval Quarter’ played host to an abundance of performers, guests and festival goers all of whom came out in their droves. The renowned ‘Freelance Knights of Redemption’ from Cavan undertook a full fighting and weaponry display while elsewhere in the Medieval encampment visitors were huddled around the roasting ‘lamb on the spit’ to observe the wonderful styles of medieval cookery. This year’s highlight proved to be the ‘have a go’ archery, which in keeping with the spirit of the day, was free.
It was a case of ‘back to basics’ for kids this year with a focus on arts and crafts and traditional games taking centre stage. Speaking on behalf of the organising committee Catherine Desmond said: “Parents were delighted with the concept of ‘back to basics’ fun. Children were able to get involved and create their own medieval hats and colour their medieval shields which they could then wear and bring home as a souvenir. Each year the committee tries to incorporate a good balance of fun, education and heritage into the festival and I think it’s fair to say that we achieved just that.” said Catherine.
A range of quality food and craft stalls only added to the electric atmosphere of the gardens in ‘Maid Marion’s Food & Craft Fair’. Traders recreated the colourful atmosphere of a noisy Medieval Marketplace and visitors were given the chance to purchase unique gifts and top quality food produce.
Local favourites The Youghal Pipe Band took centre stage at 2.00 pm with Community Radio Youghal broadcasting live throughout the day.
Cllr Mary Linehan Foley of Youghal Heritage Committee, the organisers of the event, thanked everyone for their support on the day: “The event was a tremendous success again this year, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank our many hard working volunteers who worked tirelessly before, during and after the event. Festivals like these rely heavily on volunteers and it’s great to see such community spirit. The Councillor paid particular tribute to members of the Youghal Concerned Citizens who also gave of their time on the day.
Youghal Medieval Festival was organised by The Youghal Municipal Heritage Committee and was funded by the Heritage Council of Ireland and Youghal Town Council. Marketing efforts were supported by South & East Cork Area Development.
Date: Sat Aug 27 2011
Owner: John Hennessy
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