The origins of one thousand years of settlement at Bunratty Castle will be brought to life this Saturday (July 29th) when the popular County Clare visitor attraction is transformed into a Norman village.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and the An Gaill Glais re-enactment group host “Rebels and Rivals”, a day-long event during which members of the public can witness life in a Norman encampment up close and personal, experience the sights, sounds and smells of Norman knights on campaign, and hear their stories of how they fought and sought to conquer the island of Ireland.
Bunratty can trace its foundation back to Norman times when Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress, an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top, in 1250. His lands in the then Kingdom of Thomond were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants.
Stephen Hanley, General Manager of Clare Tourism East, commented, “We can’t wait for the lawns of Bunratty Castle to be taken over by An Gaill Glais who live the history of the period and not just the conflict. They also show what day-to-day life was like for warriors and their families, as well as the gallant Gaels who stood against the Normans and defeated them on many occasions.”
According to Marie Brennan, Events Manager at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, “Gaill Glais, or ‘The Grey Foreigners’ was the name given by the Irish to the Invading Normans in 1170. The An Gaill Glais group of re-enactors live the history of the Norman period.”
Ms Brennan added, “During the Normans visit to Bunratty this Saturday, the public will be able to enjoy medieval mirth and merriment, educational demonstrations, arts and crafts, and get a true insight the life of the Knights of old, ladies and warriors of An Gaill Glais as they bring the past to life for one day only,”.
“The public will be able to meet the troop of gallant warriors and loyal soldiers from Brother Jason, the returned crusader and now leader of the Lord’s bodyguard to Cathal the Archer, the lord of the battlefield,” said Cornelius O’Sullivan from The Gaill Glais group of re-enactors.
He continued, “They can enjoy a firm handshake from Sergeant at Arms Ross and learn about his duties, as well as meet Conchobhar, the proud Gael, ready to tell the ‘oft forgotten story of his people, who stood and stopped the total Norman conquest of Ireland. One of the most important people in any encampment is Lady Eleanor. A strong and noble Norman woman, braver than brave warrior, she is a crucial member of the clan.”
Online bookings for Rebels and Rivals (standard rates apply) can be made on www.bunrattycastle.ie.