Adare Castle to welcome banquet revellers

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Alice Giltenane, Mary Fitzgerald and Maeve Martin Kelly get into medieval mode for the Adare Castle banquet. Picture: Sean Curtin
THE first banquet to be held in the Desmond Castle, Adare, for more than 400 years will take place later this month.

THE first banquet to be held in the Desmond Castle, Adare, for more than 400 years will take place later this month.

The chance to dine like an Earl is part of the Adare Weekend of Welcomes which has been organised as part of The Gathering 2013 and which will run in the award-winning village from June 27 to June 30. The Desmond Castle Medieval Banquet will take place on Saturday, June 29 from 5.00-9.00pm.

And, according to the organisers, guests at this unique event will be treated to traditional pig-on-a-spit and homemade mead served by medieval maidens while being entertained by master of ceremonies, magician, ventriloquist and sword swallower Jack Wise. A group of minstrels and jesters will play music, dance and tell stories throughout the evening – and all against the background of one of Limerick’s famous Desmond castles.

The Adare Weekend of Welcomes and medieval banquet are the brainchild of Mary Fitzgerald, of the Fitzgerald Woodlands House Hotel, who originally planned a smaller Fitzgerald Clan weekend under the auspices of The Gathering.

“But the event really gathered momentum, so much so, that we decided to bring the whole village together to create a weekend of welcomes for people from all over the world who have a connection with the Fitzgerald clan or the area or who just simply want to join in on the fun,” Ms Fitzgerald explained.

“Desmond Castle is of special importance to this event as it is the former home of the Fitzgerald clan and we felt that it would be only fitting to bring it back to life for an evening,” she continued. And the banquet, which is billed as the culmination of the four-day festival, will, she is convinced be a real celebration of Adare’s history.

“It will also showcase the hospitality we offer to all our visitors throughout the year,” she added.

Tickets for the banquet cost €50 but a family ticket for two adults and two children, who have to be 12 years or older, has been priced at €150.

To book go to www.woodlands-hotel.ie or call 061 605 100 or visit the Adare Heritage Centre.

Desmond Castle is one of the oldest and best preserved Anglo-Norman fortresses in Ireland which dates back to the early part of the 13th Century.

It was the seat of the Earls of Kildare, or Fitzgerald family, for more than 300 years before being forfeited to the Earls of Desmond, lost to English troops and ultimately dismantled by the Parliamentary forces of Oliver Cromwell in 1657, making the banquet the first big event to be held within the castle walls since the 1600s.