By Dan Danaher
VOLUNTEERS in the twin communities of Killaloe and Ballina will don suits of armour this weekend as they turn back time to stage battle re-enactments as part of the Brian Ború Millennium Commemoration.
A weekend of family fun and entertainment has been organised for the main flagship event to commemorate 1,000 years since the death of Killaloe’s most famous son. The Boru commemoration celebrations have the potential to generate an estimated €1.8 million in the region during 2014.
A business plan, prepared by the Killaloe Ballina organising committee, also expects the year-long festival to generate an extra 5,800 extra bed nights in the area.
Visitors to Killaloe and Ballina will step back in time and experience a glimpse of life in medieval Ireland during this weekend’s festivities.
Organisers have announced a comprehensive programme for the event, which marks the 1000th year anniversary of the death of Brian Ború who lived and reigned as High King of Ireland at Killaloe.
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.
Boru himself is expected to arrive by longboat at Ballina Quay this Friday at 7 pm where people can become part of his Dal Cais tribe. Juggling, tumbling and music will be provided for spectators as they await the Viking arrival.
It promises to be a colourful and festive occasion as the Brian Boru weekend kicks off in style.
Traditional skills such as cooking, blacksmith, woodworker, bow maker and textile displays will be provided by the Mogh Roith and Fingal Living History at Cathedral Quay from 11 am to 5 pm on Saturday.
Ballina Quay becomes a battleground for the Vikings between 12 pm and 3.30 pm on Sunday when battles and combat games involving Ragnarok and Bran Dubh will be displayed before the warriors depart to Kincora for the Brian Boru feast.
According to 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 the upcoming 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,” she said.
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”.