Saturday 27 December 2014

More than 40,000 spectators to attend Battle of Clontarf millennial re-enactment

Published 17/04/2014 | 16:26

Organisers of the Battle of Clontarf millennial re-enactment, where more than 40,000 spectators are expected, insist that there will be no traffic issues even though DART lines will be suspended from Connolly station on Easter Sunday.

Dublin City Council have been planning an re-enactment of the famous battle in St Anne’s Park in Raheny for the past five years to mark its 1000th anniversary over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and a contingency plan had to be put in place when they realised that DARTs would not operate after Connolly station on the second day of the event.

“More people will arrive by car now but we’ve the facilities to accommodate that so we’ll be fine,” explained Elaine O’Connor project manner for the weekend festival.

“Parking was always our concern at this event because there’s limited parking in the local vicinity but because of that it spurred us on to come up with a secondary plan and that was to have contingency parking so we’ve always been focussed on it. Now obviously with the new twist of the no DARTs that’s just turned the focus off but it’s the same thing,” she said.

Barry Gaynor of the Fingal Living History society, who has organised the Viking element of the event, said he expects that 40,000 people will attend the event on both Easter Saturday and Sunday.

However, Irish Rail said it would not resume services for Easter Sunday to serve the free event as works on the DART line have been planned.

A spokesman from Irish Rail explained it would cost transport provider €100,000 to defer the works and that they had been planned for Easter Sunday as it is the natural “low-point” in terms of use of its services

A spokesman from Dublin City Council stated that Dublin Bus will accept all rail tickets and will be putting on extra buses on the 130 route out to Clontarf as well as a special shuttle bus from Connolly station to accommodate the public in light of the DART shortfall.

In total four battle re-enactments lasting between 45 minutes and one hour will take place over the Easter weekend. They will happen on 1pm and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday with 450 Vikings and warriors from all over the world taking part.

There will also be craft demonstrations like tapestry work and natural wool dyeing happening as well as a food and craft village and a ‘meet the experts’ area.

Ms O’Connor said that there will be a large amount of extra parking, approximately 4,500 spaces, both in the park and on Bull Island and directional signage from within a two-mile perimeter of the site to accommodate people driving to Raheny over the weekend.

FUN

A leading expert in Viking history believes artefacts from the Battle of Clontarf could be located in Glasnevin Cemetery as no physical reminents have ever be found.

“As we know there are no physical remains from the battle one thousand years ago, all of our information comes from the annals, but there could be lots of weapons buried in Dublin in various sites,” explained Barry Gaynor, who co-founded Fingal Living History 16 years ago.

He cited locations along the River Tolka as possible excavation sites. “There is an area in the back of Glasnevin Cemetery that isn’t built on just beside the river where artefacts could be buried,” stated Mr Gaynor.

The area has never been excavated due to costs said the expert. “It says in the annals that the River Tolka ran red with blood that day so we know for sure that the battle happened near the river, in spite of the fact that we have no exact battle location,” he continued.

Mr Gaynor has organised 600 Viking re-enactors from more that 15 countries to come to Ireland to take part in four battles this weekend in St Anne’s Park in Raheny, Co Dublin, for the millennial commemoration of the Battle of Clontarf.

Men and women have travelled from Russia, New Zealand, Canada, America, the Czech Republic, Australia and Iceland as well as several European countries.

The Viking re-enactors have been living in St Anne’s Park in authentic tents and sleeping on sheepskin rugs since last Tuesday. They are eating roasted pig from a spit for dinner and drinking mead from bone cups.

Hanna Agren (27) from Sweden travelled here with several kilos of Viking jewellery to sell at this weekend’s celebrations. “I filled my pockets with five kilos of jewellery as I don’t want to put it in my check-in luggage. I once spent an hour going through security at an airport,” she explained. Single pieces of the jewellery are valued up to €450.

Clinton Dale travelled from Texas to fight in the battles and even though he was an electrician he has now spent the last nine years of his life making his living from making replica Viking leather items and lives in his workshop.

The four battle re-enactments will take place at 1pm and 4pm this Saturday and Sunday and according to Mr Gaynor, no one will play Brian Boru, as he never fought on the day, he spent it praying in his tent.

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