Thousands of people descended on Carrig on Bannow at the weekend for an action packed festival which brought the drama of the Norman Invasion in 1169 to life.
It was exactly 850 years when the Normans first arrived in Ireland onto the shores of Bannow beach. To mark the big anniversary of one of the most pivotal moments in Irish history, the village rallied together and organised the 1169 Norman Festival, with support from Wexford County Council. Battle re-enactments, a medieval living history tented village, historical lectures, a commemorative ceremony and concerts took place over the weekend.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a civic ceremony took place at Bannow Church on Saturday afternoon where the former curator of the National Museum, Dr Pat Wallace addressed the crowds. There were also historical lectures and with 14 different living history tents which showcasing life some 850 years ago in the Medieval Living History Tented Village everyone came away with a great understanding of the Normans. 15 living heritage craft displays were showcased along with a display of Norman cavalry warfare and fully trained warriors hosted battle re-enactments twice per day on Saturday and Sunday. Warrior training was offered for younger visitors, many of whom enjoyed archery, afterwards receiving a free replica Norman coin.
On Saturday the inaugural performance of a specially commissioned piece of music for the occasion by composer Greg French was performed by local artists and guests and Normandy based band `Strand Hugg' headlined the concert. Sunday evening's concert featured Strand Hugg along with well-known local band Green Road. One of the organisers said: `It was a great weekend and the re-enactors were amazing. People came from as far away as America. The weather was great, especially on Sunday when we had thousands of people in the field.'