On Sunday last, 20th August 2012, the historic quarter of Youghal was alive with visitors who attended the 6th Annual Youghal Medieval Festival at St. Mary’s College Gardens. The event was organised by Youghal Heritage Committee for the town’s celebrations of National Heritage Week.
Speaking as the event drew to a close, event organiser, Catherine Desmond spoke of her delight as to how the day had evolved. “Each year we try to bring a balance of fun, education and heritage into the festival for our families. Certainly, the feedback we are getting from our visitors indicates that all the hard work has been well worth it, with many believing this to be our best event yet! Feedback from business community in the town centre is also positive as many service outlets have been thrilled with the influx of visitors to the town from the festival,” said Catherine.
Despite the odd rain shower early in the day, the weather held out just long enough for families of all ages to finish off the school holidays with a day to remember. A new addition to the line up in 2012 and (sure to be a regular) was ‘Animal Magic’ from Limerick, who brought along a stunning display of hawks, falcons owls and wolfhounds to the delight of those in attendance. Spectators were given a chance to see birds of prey at close quarters. Another highlight which was added to this year’s programme was the ‘Horrible Histories Medieval Trail’ which really captured the imagination of kids of all ages who got to explore Youghal’s medieval secrets!
Festivities kicked off at 12.00 pm where the ‘Medieval Village’ played host to an abundance of performers. The ‘Freelance Knights of Redemption’ re-enactors once again stole the show with their full fighting and weaponry display while elsewhere in the medieval encampment visitors were enthralled by the wonderful styles of medieval cookery, medieval shoe making and coin pressing.
The upper garden played host to the ‘kid’s kingdom’ where two bouncy castles were a major attraction for children of all ages. However, it was the traditional arts and crafts areas which were packed to capacity as parents encouraged their children to partake in the ‘back to basics’ fun of creating their own medieval hats, shields and crowns which they could then wear and bring home as a souvenir.
The 2012 event saw over 30 quality food and craft stalls added to the event, with local producers well represented. Traders recreated the colourful atmosphere of a noisy Medieval Marketplace and visitors were given the chance to purchase unique gifts and top quality food produce ranging from homemade curries to wood-fired pizzas!
Catherine Desmond also took time to thank the many volunteers who gave of their time, before, during and after the event. “This festival, like so many others relies heavily on volunteers and it’s great to see the goodwill of people really coming to the fore. We have volunteers who come back to us year after year – hopefully they will continue to do so for many years to come!” said Catherine. Youghal Medieval Festival was organised by The Youghal Municipal Heritage Committee and was funded by the Heritage Council of Ireland and Youghal Town Council.