independent

Tuesday 21 October 2014

An explosive weekend on Vinegar Hill!

David Medcalf

Published 26/07/2014 | 12:00

Authentic re-enactment of the events of 1798

Cannon bombardments, cavalry assaults, muskets volleys and pike charges, clouding the town in the sights, sounds, and smells of battle are in prospect. And let's hope that there will be tanker loads of fake blood on stand by for the Bank Holiday weekend in Enniscorthy.

Yes, the ingredients are being assembled for an authentic re-staging of the events of 1798 over the two days. It is 216 years (and a few weeks) since 10,000 well armed members of the forces loyal to the Crown were pitted against 20,000 followers of the United Irishmen on Vinegar Hill. Re-creating that epic struggle and the earlier capture of the town by the rebels has become a small industry.

The organisers led by Jacqui Hynes and Rory O'Connor take the whole thing very seriously indeed without ever being too solemn about the whole event. Anyone who has seen Rory do a slow back flip under musket fire knows that there is plenty of room for humour during the two day extravaganza.

Last year at least 200 combatants in authentic costume relived the events of '98. The cast included dedicated re-enactors from around Ireland and the UK with a keen sense of history and a grá for dressing up in old uniforms.

This time the event promises to be even bigger and more explosive than before as the reputation of the Vinegar Hill jamboree grows. As well as recreating the blood and thunder of 18th century combat, the two sides will also contest a polocrosse match on horseback at the Showgrounds. Further details of the weekend happenings are available from Jacqui or Rory on (053)923 7596 or email info@knightsandrebels.ie

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