THERE were spectacular scenes in the vicinity of Limerick’s King John’s Castle as more than 50 horses galloped impressively through the city at the weekend.
Up to 4,000 people lined Thomond Bridge and Clancy’s Strand to witness the city’s first ever Sarsfields Day parade, and they were treated to a spectacular display of horses led off by Patrick Sarsfield himself, resplendent in red regalia, in scenes reminiscent of the Siege of Limerick in 1691.
And as the sun set over the Shannon, there was a spectacular fireworks display in Arthur’s Quay park.
The parade formed the centrepiece of a three day festival marking the life of one of Limerick’s most historic figures.
Actor Kevin Kiely commentated on the march as the costumed horsemen, including Galloping Hogan, Boisseleau, Ned of the Hills and Honora de Burke rode from King John’s Castle with a marching band.
Moyross man John Long travelled to the march with his daughter Holly, 13.
“It was very good. It isn’t very often you see stuff like this in Limerick. It is great to see this happening,” he said.
Meanwhile, Holly was particularly impressed with the commentary by the Limerick actor.
Leas Cathaoirleach, Cllr Joe Crowley, was also present with his wife Christine.
He admitted he learnt in one night more than he did about Limerick’s history from studying history books.
Ellie Brislane also enjoyed an educational evening.
“I really enjoyed watching the horses march through. I learnt loads about Patrick Sarsfield,” she smiled.
Horslips opened Limerick’s first Sarsfield Weekend with a gig at the Milk Market, while Saturday saw a 135km cycle tour over the whole route of the hero’s ride to Ballyneety in 1690.
A medieval fayre also took place at Arthur’s Quay park, with replicas of weapons on display for public interest.
Murroe man Sean McNamara, who organised the festival, said: “To see the enthusiasm in the kid’s faces was special. There was a great crowd, and just the impression of all the horses coming down the street was new to Limerick.
“Hopefully we can build on this, and make it even better next year.”