The annual Spanish Armada festival will take place in Grange and at Streedagh between 16th – 18th September next. Following a two year break due to Covid, when the festival went online, the committee can finally welcome back locals and visitors for this annual Armada commemoration.
“It’s a great programme, with history, music and cultural events at its heart,” says Eddie O’Gorman, Chair of Spanish Armada Ireland, the group that has promoted Sligo’s Armada connections for many years. “We will have a night of Spanish music, a Céilí with members of the Dartry Céilí Band, a lecture series and of course our Remembrance Parade, which will take place at Streedagh Beach,” he adds.
Three Spanish Armada ships sank at Streedagh beach in September 1588, and for the past decade and more, locals in Grange have welcomed Spanish visitors from far and wide to Sligo for the annual Armada commemoration. Many, including the Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, Ildefonso Castro, will return to Streedagh to honour the memory of over 1,000 Spanish soldiers and sailors who perished after the Armada shipwrecks were driven ashore during storms.
“It will be an honour for me and my colleagues to visit the site where so many of our countrymen died more than four centuries ago,” says H.E. Ildefonso Castro, the Spanish Ambassador to Ireland. “We are grateful to Spanish Armada Ireland for remembering our fallen. I look forward to returning to Grange in September for the festival and to witness at first hand the work that has been done for many years to commemorate the Armada’s legacy.”
The Remembering the Armada festival programme will also feature a number of additional events, including an Armada 8km run and walk, a guided walk on part of the De Cuéllar Trail, and a Climate Change event which will focus on Streedagh Beach and the ever changing landscape and challenges that face our natural environment.
“Climate change is an issue that challenges us at local as well as at global levels,” says environmentalist Dr. Prannie Rhatigan, who is also a member of the festival committee. “Sometimes we can become overwhelmed at the scale of climate change around the world. We want to show that on a personal level, there are things that we can all do to help. Streedagh is one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in Ireland, but has also faced many challenges over the years. We want people to engage with these challenges and see how we might change our attitudes and behaviours, in particular at a local level.”
The Armada lecture series will feature a number of interesting discussions at the Spanish Armada Visitor Centre in the centre of Grange Village. The themes being discussed this year will range from the discovery of a medieval log boat at Lissadell, to a discussion on the challenges faced by cartographers who drew maps in the 16th century, to a talk on the famous Butterboat, the wreck of which can still be seen at Streedagh Beach at low tide.
“There has always been a strong sense of community in Grange, and in particular in relation to cultural and historical events like the Spanish Armada,” says Councillor Michael Clarke, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council. “I look forward to attending as many of the events as possible. We are a maritime county, and it is most important that we commemorate our heritage and maintain the memory of what was such an eventful time in Irish and Spanish history.”
Remembering the Armada will take place between 16th-18th September. The full programme of events, plus ticketing information, is available at www.SpanishArmadaIreland.com. The committee would like to pay tribute to all of our members and volunteers, as well as our funders – the Spanish Embassy, Sligo County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim ETB.
Would love to be going there Eddie, perhaps next year.