The programme for Remembering the Armada which will take place at Grange and Streedagh, Co. Sligo on September 20-22 next, contains several exciting new innovations.
Firstly, 5 years after it was performed to packed audiences during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the De Cuéllar Suite makes a welcome return, with several new twists. Firstly, this acclaimed musical composition by Michael Rooney remains in full, and will be played by an ensemble of acclaimed classical and traditional musicians. Among them will be classical violinist Niamh Crowley, who played for Prince Charles when he visited Sligo in 2015. Also included are members of the renowned traditional group Moxie – brothers Joss and Ted Kelly. On the bill are a range of wonderful musicians, playing violin, cello, flute, percussion, and more. For the full listing visit our De Cuéllar Suite event page, where you can also get tickets priced at an exceptional €15 for early birds.
The De Cuéllar Suite will be performed on both Friday and Saturday nights of the festival, at the Church of Mary Immaculate in Grange (9pm). An added element to the bill will be the performance of a troupe of actors taking the parts of many of the key characters in the letter of Francisco de Cuéllar, one of the few survivors of the Spanish Armada tragedy at Streedagh in 1588. So, we’ll hear accounts from King Phillip II of Spain, the Duke of Medina Sidonia – leader of the expedition, the local chieftains O’Rourke and McClancy and others, all based on de Cuéllar’s memoirs. This incredible story – along with Michael Rooney’s incredible musical score – will ensure we have a night to remember, so get your tickets while the early bird price remains. There are also further reductions for children.
Next, we have the first ever Armada 8km road race and walk. This will take place on Sunday morning 22 September at midday. Starting and ending at Streedagh Beach, the route will take in some of the De Cuéllar Trail as described by the Spanish Armada captain in his writings. The route is incredibly scenic, heading along towards Staad Abbey and ending with spectacular views of the Atlantic. The route is fairly flat, so not too challenging for most of us. But it will provide a test for those who decide to ‘go for it’ while allowing the rest of us who favour a more leisurely pace to enjoy it too. Price for the race is €10 online or €12 if you arrive on the day, and further reductions are available for families.
Then we have the centrepiece Remembering the Armada, the annual parade which will take place between Streedagh Beach and the nearby Armada monument which overlooks the beach. This is a very significant event, not least for the increasing numbers of Spanish people who attend every year, and of course, for the 4th consecutive year, the Spanish Navy will send a military ship and personnel to take a central part in the event. This event is free to the public, but please allow some time to access the beach area, and due to limited parking you may be required to walk some distance to the starting point.
Another innovation at this year’s festival is the chance for the public to visit the Spanish Naval vessel ESPS Centinela which will be berthed at the nearest deepwater harbour in Killybegs. This a full day excursion leaving Grange by bus at 11am and returning at 5pm. Upon arrival at Killybegs there will be a ceremony of remembrance and salute at the Duquesa Santa Ana monument to the Armada fallen. Following the short ceremony we have organised a very special lunch devised and prepared by the School of Tourism. Tour of ESPS Centinela follows lunch. This is a must for those interested in both maritime and military subjects, and limited booking is available by visiting the website.
We have a fascinating series of lectures again this year. These will take place at the Spanish Armada Visitor Centre (formerly The Courthouse) in Grange on Saturday morning at 10am and will feature Juan Manuel Real Espinosa from Spain who will interpret de Cuéllar’s letter, historian Daniel McCall who will focus on the background to the publication in 1897 of Hugh Allingham’s Captain Cuellar’s Adventures in Connacht and Ulster. He will also deliver a lecture on the Lost Armada Figurehead from Streedagh. Sligo-based archaeologist Sam Moore will deliver on Mythology in County Sligo and some of its Medieval Scribes. Note that space at the Courthouse is limited, so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment – visit this link to find out more.
All told, a fascinating weekend of music, pageantry, lectures and much more awaits all who visit Grange for the weekend of September 20-22. Details on all events, plus online ticketing at https://gada.eventbrite.ie