The Clare Champion
Friday, November 18, 2011
Barrack Street, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland.
Tel. +353 65 6828105 Fax +353 65 6820374
Killaloe at centre of national Brian Boru Festival plans
Written by Dan Danaher
A MARCH of Warriors to the Phoenix Park on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, is being proposed by a new committee as one of the special events to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of a former High King of Ireland.
Organised by a nationally recognised charity, “warriors” would depart from several venues around the country and travel to the Phoenix Park, where they would spend the night with the assistance of the army and civil defence. On Easter Monday, April 21, the “warriors” will march from Phoenix Park to Clontarf under their respective banners, including members of the O’Brien clan from around the world, with the help of Machnas, live bands and bodhrans as part of a truly great spectacle, before participating in a full programme of events organised by Clontarf 2014.
This is one of the plans for a major national Brian Boru festival with international tourism potential, which has been unveiled by a new committee in Killaloe/Ballina. The committee is celebrating the fact the historic figure was born, raised and ruled in Killaloe and while he was High King from 1002 to 1014, Killaloe was capital of Ireland.
Former Lions rugby captain, Keith Wood and international comedian, Brendan Grace have been selected as the Brian Boru 2014 ambassadors. Lord Inchiquin Conor O’Brien, chief of the O’Brien Clan, has become honorary president and festival ambassador.
The festival will be officially launched from March 15 to 17, 2014 including music, battle re-enactments and the National Lottery Skyfest Fireworks Display on the evening of March 15.
Three sites are being suggested as suitable venues – Ballycuggeran, from the centre of the lake where it could be viewed from any point on the mountains on either side of Lough Derg; Tountinna from the top of the mountain on the Tipperary side of the lake where it could be seen from five different counties and from each side of the Killaloe Bridge with St Flannan’s Cathedral as a memorable backdrop.
The main event for 2014 is the proposed staging of Killaloe as Honorary Capital of Ireland from April 25 to 27. This would give the committee an opportunity to hold a mass in remembrance of Brian Boru on the Friday, followed by a civic ceremony to possibly unveil a monument or launch a commemorative coin or stamp.
Celebrations on the lake are planned for Saturday, April 26 with water-based activities and sports and in the evening a salute to Brian Boru on the water with music on a floating stage.
Riverdance, Machnas and re-enactments ending with a phantom longboat sailing up Lough Derg would provide a poignant remembrance, as the ghost of Brian Boru makes his final voyage.
Sunday, April 27 would be a family day with music, parades, a re-enactment village, sports and lots of fun. The O’Brien Clan, with an estimated 700,000 members spread throughout the world, and members of the Dalcassian Clan will be invited back to Killaloe that weekend to see the birth place and home of their kinsmen.
The committee are also seeking the heritage re-branding of East Clare and North Tipperary as Brian Boru country.
Committee chairman, John O’Shea believes the festival will provide a huge tourism spin-off in 2014 and for years afterwards once tourists become award of “Ireland’s best kept secret”.