18 Aug 2022

Limerick to mark the flight of the Wild Geese

Limerick to mark the flight of the Wild Geese

At the launch of Limerick's Bastille Day festival are David O'Brien and Patricia Roberts of the Limerick Civic Trust and Dr Loic Guyon, the Honorary Consul of France

LIMERICK is to mark the flight of the Wild Geese as part of its 2021 Bastille Day celebrations next month.

The first festival to take place in the city since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, a variety of events will take place between Friday, July 9 and Sunday, July 11.

Launched in 2019 – before taking a break during the 2020 lockdown – the festival is timed to coincide  with the weekend closest to France’s Bastille Day.

It commemorates the Flight of the Wild Geese and celebrates the long-lasting friendship between Ireland and France.

For this year’s edition, which will mark the 330th anniversary of the Treaty of Limerick, the organisers have put together an programme which will take place across the city centre.

On the Friday afternoon, the festival will be launched at the Milk Market with a mini-market and a free gig by Clare-based band Los Paddys. It will be followed in the evening by the inauguration of the Wild Geese Museum in the old St Munchin’s church on King’s Island.

On Saturday July 10, a living history camp will be set up in the new gardens of the Hunt Museum by reenactors from En Garde, the Franco-Irish Historical Society, who will bring back to life Napoleon Bonaparte’s famous Irish Legion. There will also be musical performances from the Limerick School of Music and from the St Mary’s Prize Band and a boules tournament, as well as a few surprises and an opportunity to do a guided walking tour of the city centre with local historian Dr Paul O’Brien.

A public talk by Dr Harman Murtagh, an expert on the Wild Geese, will take place at the People’s Museum later that day.

On Sunday July 11, the Limerick Cycling Club will take experienced cyclists on a tour following the itinerary of Patrick Sarsfield’s ride to Ballyneety in 1690. Later that morning, a plaque in honour of the women of Limerick who fought during the siege of 1690 will be unveiled in Irish Town by His Excellency Vincent Guérend, Ambassador of France to Ireland, and former Mayor of Limerick Kathleen Leddin. The festival will culminate on the Sunday afternoon with an event at King John’s Castle including a parade of veteran associations, a flag raising ceremony supported by the Defence Forces, a specially commissioned suite of music and dance, a gun salute by reenactors from En Garde and an afternoon tea with DJs.

All events will be free but, due to the pandemic, numbers of attendees will be strictly limited.

In compliance with recently published guidelines from Fáilte Ireland and the Arts Council, pre-booking via Eventbrite will be required for most of the events and crowd-control measures will be put in place.

Online ticket booking will open three days before each event’s starting time.

The full programme and ticket booking links can be found on the festival’s page here on the festival’s social media accounts @LimerickWild.

Honorary consul of France Dr Loïc Guyon said: “Organising a festival of this magnitude is never easy but organising it in the midst of a pandemic has been a tremendous challenge. This would not have been possible without the support of my co-organiser, David O’Brien, CEO of the Limerick Civic Trust, and of all the volunteers who joined our organising committee last October and to whom I wish to express my gratitude.”

He also paid tribute to Limerick City and County Council as well as the event’s sponsors.

A special mention was also given to Dr Francis Ward of the O'Rourke School of Dancing who created a specially commissioned suite of music and dance for the festival.

Civic Trust chair Patricia Roberts added: “This is a wonderful event and not only marks the 330th anniversary of the siege of Limerick but it also comes as one of the very first public events in Limerick, following a long and protracted lockdown so it is double the celebration.”

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