THE TOWN of Hospital will celebrate its proud 800-year history and its founding fathers on Friday evening with a parade of the Knights Hospitallers.
It will feel like 1215 as the men clad in armour will lead a procession on horseback from the church car park at 7pm. The knights were among the most famous of the Roman Catholic military orders during the Middle Ages and gave the town its name.
Eddie Creighton, of Hospital Community Council, said they will march up and down through the town to launch their 800-year anniversary festivities.
“There will be an open stage at the community hall. A town crier will come out in all his regalia and read a proclamation of the date and time. Then it will be blessed by Canon Conor Ryan and there will be live music and entertainment from local talent on the stage,” said Mr Creighton.
Through the exhaustive work of local historian Michael O’Sullivan the town’s origins can be traced back to 1215. The Norman, Geoffrey de Marisco established a house of the Knights Hospitallers after receiving a land grant in the area.
This weekend will be just the beginning of the celebrations that will run until December.
“We have another very big weekend coming up on July 4 and 5. There will be an outdoor Mass at the old Abbey - one of the first buildings. The new Archbishop will be saying the Mass and the Glenstal monks and Order of Malta will be there. The Knights of the order of Malta are a continuation of the Knights Hospitallers. That’s all part of our history,” said Mr Creighton, who credits Mr O’Sullivan for the idea which has been embraced by all the community.
“The schools are very involved. Pupils in John the Baptist Community School designed the signs and the logo. There will be an essay competition in both the national and secondary schools with prizes,” said Mr Creighton.
On Saturday afternoon at 3pm a 8.7km walk will leave John the Baptist Community School’s car park. While on Sunday the Limerick hurlers will play an important challenge match at 5.30pm in the run up to the Clare game.
“We are appealing for everyone in Hospital to come out and show their local pride – and the surrounding areas as well,” said Mr Creighton. For more see the Hospital 800 Facebook page.