Sun worshippers to gather at Limerick stone circle

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Historian Michael Quinlan and Dr Frank Prendergast carrying out a new archaeoastronomical survey of the largest stone circle in Ireland located in Grange, prior to the Summer Solstice Festival which takes place in Lough Gur from June 18-23. Picture: Keith Wiseman
SUN WORSHIPPERS of a different kind are being encouraged to make their way to Grange stone circle next week for a six-day festival to celebrate the longest day of the year.

SUN WORSHIPPERS of a different kind are being encouraged to make their way to Grange stone circle next week for a six-day festival to celebrate the longest day of the year.

As the sun rises on June 21, groups will gather at the ancient site to celebrate the summer solstice.

Dr Frank Prendergast has been carrying out a new archaeoastronomical survey of the largest stone circle in Ireland located in Grange, prior to the Summer Solstice Festival.

Dr Prendergast is an authority on the archaeoastronomy of Irish monuments, that is, the ways in which they may have been concerned with the movement, or more usually the setting and rising positions, of the sun, moon, or other heavenly bodies.

The six-day festival meanwhile begins on Wednesday, June 18 with a Long Walk on a Long Day which will depart at 7pm from the lakefront in Lough Gur.

“The guide will lead you over the hills and byways of wild landscapes that are not accessible at any other time of the year. Visitors will be treated to local lore and history in a way that is only on offer on this day,” explained Kate Horrold, manager of Lough Gur Heritage Centre.

The DynaLyts, the feeder group for the CoLYT, perform the Acme Thunderer by Liz Coghlan on June 20 and 21. Performances commence in The Honey Fitz Theatre, Lough Gur at 7pm. For bookings contact 061 385 386.

The play focuses on cousins in London in World War 2 who play in the air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden. The evening will also include the showing of The Myth of Us made by Apate Films with the County Limerick Youth Theatre in conjunction with Limerick Youth Services and the International Youth Theatre.

It is a short film shot over the sunny Easter holidays on location in Lough Gur, by the lake, at the heritage centre and in the Honey Fitz itself.

For aficionados of table quizzes there will be a fine test of general knowledge in Reardon’s bar on Thursday, June 19 at 9pm. There will be several prizes up for grabs on the night.

Saturday, June 21 will see not only the sun rising through Grange stone circle but it will also bring the Summer Solstice cyclers to the Heritage Centre in Lough Gur at 6am. To join the group in Limerick at 5am please contact the centre on 061 385186.

Refreshments will be available for all cyclists before they make the return visit to Limerick city on that morning. For those who are not fond of two wheels and prefer to stay on two legs the Solstice Fun Run will leave from the Honey Fitz Theatre at 11am. Registration will take place at 10.30am. To cater for all fitness levels there will be a 4km, 6km and 10km route.

Bridging the day of events will be the annual Willie Carroll skittle tournament at 3pm taking place outside Reardon’s bar in aid of Cliona’s Foundation followed by the 160-year school reunion at Lough Gur National School from 7pm.

Meanwhile, families and people of all ages are welcome to join in the fun at the family fun day by the lakefront on Sunday, June 22 from 2pm to 5pm. Highlights include the big red party bus, mobile pet farm, kayaking, bouncy castle and a never before seen Gandelow handcrafted boat race on the lake by the Ilen crew.

Later that evening, A Night in November directed by Kevin O’Shea and starring William Lyons will take place in the Honey Fitz Theatre.

The show has played on Broadway and has received over 70 standing ovations throughout Ireland, including Croke Park.

To close the Summer Solstice Festival, Jon Kenny and Mary McEvoy will take to the stage at the Honey Fitz Theatre on Monday, June 23 of June at 8pm. After two sell-out shows in April, the performance is returning once more to please the number of disappointed people who were unable to get tickets at the last event.

To book tickets for the list of events over the six- day festival please phone 061 385186 or email loughgur@gmail.com.

Full details are available on www.loughgur.com.