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Brian Ború team pivots to save festival


THE Féile Brian Ború committee does not want another year to go by without twin towns Killaloe and Ballina, celebrating their annual festival, so they are organising a slightly different series of events this year.
Denied numerous entertainment events as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, locals and visitors are looking forward to the return of this festival, which runs from July 7 to July 11 next.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, last year’s Féile Brian Ború did not go ahead as planned from July 8-12.
It was really disappointing for the committee to be take a break from the annual festival for the first time since 1993, but they acknowledged at the time everyone’s safety was far more important.
To ensure the festival isn’t postponed for two successive years, the committee has decided to pivot towards online workshops, classes and talks.
The committee has already organised historical talks; self guided historical walks; online art and drawing classes; a dog photo competition in aid of Limerick Animal Welfare to replace their popular dog show; a colouring competition and a photographic competition based around the two beautiful twin towns.
Festival goers can also look forward to a scavenger hunt with all the family and Brian Boru’s Wild and Wonderful Art Adventure – a socially distanced treasure hunt around the historic sites of Killaloe.
People can also go kayaking and enjoy stand-up paddle boarding sessions, and will have the option of a fun alternative to the much loved Beat on the Street.
Even though things will be different this year, the committee believes it will have plenty of fun events and activities for everyone.
The Féile celebrates the life and legacy of Brian Ború, founder of the O’Briens – the most famous son of the historic twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina.
Through this annual festival, the Féile Brian Ború committee aim to celebrate Ireland’s Greatest High King and keep alive the name of the Great Brian Ború in his native place.
Killaloe/Ballina is unique in having two oratories built about three centuries apart. These are the churches of St Flannan and St Lua.
However, Killaloe is probably best remembered as the place where Brian Ború held his kingship one millennium ago.
Outside the town of Killaloe, on the Scarriff road, lies Béal Ború or Brian Ború’s Fort. Looking at it today, it is a large circular structure consisting of two built-up rings.
However, archaeological excavations have shown that it was a simple homestead ring fort, which was occupied in the 10th and 11th centuries. This is where Brian Ború, his family and his large army of Dalcassian soldiers lived.
When Brian was crowned High King of Ireland in 1002, he broke with tradition and choose not to take his seat at Tara in County Meath but returned to his fort in Killaloe.
During his reign, Brian extended and strengthened this simple homestead and turned it into the well known Royal Palace of Kincora, which occupied the area where the Catholic church in Killaloe stands today.
No trace of this palace remains but from early writings a description of it can be made. Kincora or in Gaelic, Ceann Coradh meaning Head of the Weir, was a high stone enclosure inside of which were a number of circular houses made of timber and wicker.
Outside of this enclosure were a large number of houses which were scattered out as far as Béal Ború. These housed the 3,000 or so Dalcassian soldiers, which Brian kept camped around his palace at all times.
Anyone with any queries about the festival can contact info@feilebrianboru.com

By Dan Danaher

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