Longford community pulls out all the stops ahead of major Ballinamuck Commemoration event
Longford community pulls out all the stops ahead of major Ballinamuck Commemoration event
Fun-filled and fascinating line up of four days of events and entertainment for the whole family
4 September 2023
The final countdown is on to the biggest historical event in the midlands – The 225th Commemoration of 'The Battle of Ballinamuck' - which takes place in County Longford this weekend.
The event, which starts on Thursday, 7 September and runs until Sunday, 10 September, commemorates the last major engagement of the 1798 rebellion 225 years on.
The interest and excitement, both locally and nationally in the plans for this weekend’s events, has been tremendous, with funding provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media through the Decade of Centenaries Programme, Longford County Council and Longford Tourism.
Following a traditional mass to remember all of those who died during the Battle of Ballinamuck at St Patrick’s Church, the festivities kick off on Thursday evening with Traditional Music in the 98 Bar and a fantastic fireworks display from Kiltycreevagh and Shanmullagh Hills, which will be seen from all around the area.
Friday will see guided tours of the various historic sites of the village setting off from the Pikeman statue in Ballinamuck, an official opening ceremony with local and French dignitaries as well as a formal living wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance. The keynote speaker for the day will be historian Professor Kevin Whelan while musical entertainment will be provided on Friday night by Bríd Shaughnessy and Johnny Brady.
Saturday will see the main event of the weekend taking place with the Battle of Ballinamuck Re-enactment getting underway around 12.30pm following the arrival of troops via Humbert’s March of the 8km distance from Keeldra to Ballinamuck. Take some time to view the Living History Campsite where troops camped the night before the battle 225 years ago, enjoy the pageantry of armed uniformed personnel arriving with carts and on horseback and take part in modern history at the unveiling of the plaque in memory of General Humbert. The historical and theatrical Paddy Cullivan Show dramatizes the story of the French hero with his one man show. ‘The Year of the French’ will be staged in the 98 Hall on Saturday, while ‘Wolfe Tone’ will be staged on Sunday. Musical entertainment on the Saturday night comes courtesy of ‘The Highstool Prophets’ and ‘Rhythm & Sticks’ in the 98 Memorial Hall.
Sunday will be our Family Fun Day which includes a variety of events taking place right across the village, with something for everyone to enjoy. Activities include the recreation of the famous historical football match between Ballinamuck Kickers and the Mullahoran Dreadnoughts which was first played in 1898. Visitors can also still view the Living Campsite; peruse Country Fair Stalls along the streets; check out Kiddies Corner with a pet farm at Dillon’s Bar; get competitive in the family boules competition at The Garden of Remembrance; and sample traditional food from pig on a spit as well as traditional Irish and Ukrainian fare. Local rivalries will re-emerge with the Tug of War Tournament; and while traditional skills and crafts will also be on display with the Mobile Forge; spinning, weaving and much much more. Sunday night's big draw will include live music with the wonderful Cronin, Mick Flavin and Nite Fever.
All event timings are subject to change with final confirmation available on www.battleofballinamuck.ie.
As the community in Ballinamuck put the last few finishing touches to its plans for this major historic event and braces itself to welcome big crowds; below we have compiled our top tips to help people prepare, get here, and enjoy this very special weekend.
Where is Ballinamuck and how can I get there?
Ballinamuck is a small village, approximately 20km north of Longford, bordering Cavan and Leitrim and is accessible by car and public transport. Whether travelling by car, or on public transport, please plan out your journey ahead of time and designate a driver if you are planning to enjoy our famous local hospitality. A limited taxi service will be available from the village on a daily and nightly basis.
The public bus link for the village (Route 975 from Cavan to Longford) will operate throughout the weekend, only serving the Ballinamuck Cross stop at St Patrick’s National School. A regular shuttle service will operate from there to the village over the weekend for public transport users. The service operates five times a day and full timetables can be found on TransportforIreland.ie
Please note, road closures will be in place so drop off and collection points are also located at Gaigue Cross on the R198 (at St Patrick’s National School) or at the 98 Bar, Kiltycreevagh, Eircode N39 CP04.
The roads closures take effect from 12noon on Friday until 3am Saturday; 9am Saturday until 3am Sunday; and 9am Sunday until 3am Monday.
Will I be able to park my vehicle close to the village and re-enactment site?
Yes, ample parking is being provided and will be clearly signposted with stewards on duty on all approaches to the village. Please be advised that the closest parking area to the village is 700m away or at least a five-minute walk. Limited accessible parking is available upon request, our stewards are happy to assist anyone. The shuttle bus from Gaigue Cross will also service motorists parking in the Blue Parking Zone. Please see www.battleofballinamuck.ie for daily updates.
Stewards will be on hand to manage parking and it is advised to arrive early. We also kindly request that people respect our voluntary stewards, who are giving freely of their time to help with this important community event.
There will be a wide variety of food carts available, from breakfast options available on the mornings of the weekend to fast food served throughout the day and night. Also, options for special dietary requirements will be catered for. Along with the food carts, tea and coffee will be available in a few positions throughout the events locations. A novelty maybe to try is the 'Pig on a spit' available lunchtime on Sunday only. Specialist Ukrainian and Irish Traditional foods will also be available to try on Sunday. In addition, the local ICA group will be hosting tea and coffee at the famous ‘Johnny’s Cottage’, so why not join them for some of their scrumptious treats.
Will toilets and facilities for baby changing be available?
Accessible toilets are available in Dillons and The 98 Bar as well as the 98 Memorial Hall. In addition, numerous portaloos will be dotted around the event sites with accessible portaloos also being made available. Baby changing is available in Dillons and the 98 Memorial Hall.
Campervan parking is available in a designated area in the village. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or contact us at Battle of Ballinamuck on Facebook. A full range of local accommodation options for visitors is provided at Longford.ie.
Is there a shop in the village?
Yes, there is a shop in the middle of the village for essential supplies.
Sunscreen and what to wear on the day!
As Irish weather is so unpredictable, please come prepared for all weather, from sunscreen to raingear. Suitable comfortable footwear is also advisable as experiencing the various events involves lots of walking to and from different parts of the village.
Will the re-enactment be noisy?
Yes, the re-enactment will be loud for those sensitive to high noise levels. It will include music, mock explosions and a large number of re-enactors participating. It is also expected that there will be a large audience in attendance on the day. Those with sensitivities and families with younger children may enjoy viewing the Living Campsite from 3pm onwards after the re-enactment.
Is there a charge for evening entertainment, and will there be a cloakroom available?
Yes, entry to nightly musical entertainment is €20 while entry to the Paddy Cullivan Stage Shows are €10. A small fee is also in place for use of the cloakroom.
How can I see the free fireworks display on Thursday night?
Fireworks will be visible from all areas of the village. The suggested gathering point is outside the 98 Bar– where there is a 150-degree vista of both Kiltycreevagh and Shanmullagh Hills.
Where can I find help if I need it over the course of the weekend?
All events will be stewarded throughout the weekend. Longford Civil Defence and The Order of Malta will be in attendance for any urgent medical needs. If first aid is required, please approach stewards and they will direct you to the nearest designated support point.
A lost property point will be in operation at the 98 Hall at the cloakroom.
Where can I find more information about this event?
We have a website with all information about this event www.battleofballinamuck.ie which will be updated regularly. Also, an event brochure will be available on the day which includes a map and QR code to use on smartphones. We have a number of stewards as previously mentioned, who will be glad to help you!
For further information, or if you wish to donate to the running costs of the commemoration weekend please follow Battle of Ballinamuck on social media or check out www.battleofballinamuck.ie where a secure donation button is available.