Tuesday 23 January 2024

Clare’s Bunratty Castle celebrates ancient pagan festival over February bank holiday weekend

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, in County Clare, will celebrate an ancient pagan festival over the February bank holiday weekend.

On Sunday, February 4, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park will celebrate Imbolc, the ancient pagan festival marking the beginning of spring.

For the occasion, the County Clare visitor attraction will showcase the vibrant crafts, traditions, animals and customs that characterise the season, while the ‘Imbolc Celebration’ will also mark St. Brigid’s Day.

Marie Brennan, Events Manager at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, said: “Imbolc represents the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and has been celebrated in this country since ancient times. We look forward to marking the beginning of spring in style by inviting the local community and the wider public to join us for a fun-filled and educational day out.”

During the festival, visitors will be able to learn how to make the Saint Brigid's Cross, an iconic symbol that has graced Irish homes for centuries.

Basket maker Michael Foudy will demonstrate the time-honoured tradition of making traditional style baskets using locally sourced materials such as hazel and willow. 

The Bean an Tí also will be on hand throughout the day to demonstrate the art of traditional butter making at the Golden Vale Farmhouse.

Also, varieties of native Irish animals, from Droimeann cattle to Irish Wolfhounds and from Irish Red Deer to Tamworth pigs, will be on display as part of the visitor attraction’s ongoing work to increase awareness of native Irish breeds and how they have formed part of Ireland’s social and cultural history down through the centuries.

As the Folk Park springs into life for the new season, the Clare Vintage and Engine Tractor Club will showcase an array of vintage agricultural machinery at work including corn grinders, water pumps and a mini-threshing machine.

There also will be children’s entertainment from a host of characters located throughout the 26-acre Folk Park, including the resident Seanchaí Mickey Joe who will recall tales of bygone days and traditional ways preserved over the centuries at Corry's Pub on the Village Street. 

Meanwhile, Konor the Clown will be performing magic, juggling and music in the Corn Barn at various internals throughout the day.