PATRICK Sarsfield’s famous destruction of a munitions train in 1690, which halted the Williamite domination of Ireland and the noise of which was reportedly heard across Europe, is to be further immortalised with a new festival in his honour.
The Sarsfield’s Day Pageant was launched this Monday, fittingly at the Treaty Stone, on which the agreements to conclude the Siege of Limerick and the Williamite war were signed in 1691.
Ministers Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan joined Mayor Gerry McLoughlin, Cllr Maria Byrne and Eoghan Prendergast of Shannon Development to launch the festival, which is to take place on Saturday, August 10, 2013, to tie-in with the national Gathering initiative taking place next year.
The project is being run by local men Gay Lawlor and Sean McNamara, who have declared that the parade will boast 100 horsemen led by a forty piece band through the streets of Limerick in full Jacobean regalia - the outfits of the time.
The duo explained that they wish to commemorate Sarsfield’s role in halting the Williamite advance on August 10, 1690, an “incredible act of bravery that ultimately forced William of Orange to depart this country in some ignominy”.
“The lack of awareness of how important a role Sarsfield played in the history of our city is a source of much regret and an oversight we feel should be rectified within the cultural development of Limerick,” explained Mr Lawlor, who with Mr McNamara has composed new music for Percy French’s song Sarsfield’s Ride, which will be performed at the festival.
A fireworks display will follow the parade, while it is also planned that a major concert will take place as part of the festival, which it is hoped will become an annual event.
Mayor McLoughlin said he was “delighted that our ancient city will also commemorate a unique and momentous event in our history”.