Patrick Sarsfield to be resurrected for festival

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

Young Jack Oliver, Murroe, dressed as Patrick Sarsfield on St Patrick's Day to promote the upcoming event
LIMERICK’S debt to Patrick Sarsfield is to be celebrated next month in an event the organisers hope will become an annual affair.

LIMERICK’S debt to Patrick Sarsfield is to be celebrated next month in an event the organisers hope will become an annual affair.

Supported by Failte Ireland, Sarsfield’s Day is part of The Gathering 2013 and takes place on Saturday, August 10.

It will feature horsemen riding through the city in Jacobean dress and climaxes with a fireworks display over King John’s Castle in tribute to the blowing up of William of Orange’s siege train in Ballyneety, an act of sabotage that forced the English king to negotiate.

While Patrick Sarsfield gives his names to streets and sporting clubs around Limerick, too little is known of this national hero, according to those behind the Sarsfield’s Day celebration.

“Sarsfield’s Day is primarily aimed at reminding the people of Limerick and Ireland of a largely forgotten figure in Irish history whose achievements as a military commander and patriot are often overlooked,” explained Sean McNamara of event organisers Rapparee Productions.

He continued: “Against all the odds, Patrick Sarsfield successfully prevented William of Orange from capturing Limerick and with his French allies inflicted over 5,000 Williamite casualties, five times greater than those suffered by William’s army at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

“The fact that he was able to save the city and bring William of Orange to the negotiating table, or the Treaty Stone in Limerick’s case, is symbolic of all that is courageous, honourable and patriotic among the Irish. We want to commemorate this milestone moment in Limerick and Irish history this coming August”, said Mr McNamara.

That commemoration will include a recreation of the Williamite Siege of Limerick as well as a re-enactment of Sarsfield, Galloping Hogan and Eamon an Chnoic’s famous roundabout ride to Ballyneety and back to blow up the munitions train of the besieging force.

Around 100 horsemen will ride through the streets of Limerick in this re-enactment.

And it all culminates in the fireworks display over King John’s.

“The day will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display over the River Shannon in front of King John’s Castle, to re-enact the massive explosion created at Ballyneety, described as the loudest explosion ever recorded on the island of Ireland,” Mr McNamara said.

“We would like to thank Fáilte Ireland and The Gathering Limerick steering group for their valuable support in organising this event. We hope Sarsfield’s Day, with the help of the people of Limerick at home and abroad, will become an annual event that we can be proud of.” For more information, visit www.sarsfieldsday.com.