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Book Event

Lúnasa Festival 2018 – Cultured Celts: From Celts to Cloth

Lúnasa Festival 2018 – Cultured Celts: From Celts to Cloth

Cut-Throat Celts are coming to Bessbrook to cut throats and threads! You are welcome to join them to learn all about the history of the model village of Bessbrook, from the Celts to the development of the cloth (linen) industry in the 18th Century.

Entry to the event is free, however charges and donation requests do apply to some aspects; money raised will be used by Bessbrook Development Company to continue their community work in the local area.

Please note: You only need to book a place on the morning guided walk of Bessbrook.

Celtic Camp & Battle Arena

Start your historical journey at Bessbrook Pond – wander through the Celtic Camp, by Magnus Vikings, to find out how the Celts were great crafts-people as well as warriors. Learn how the Celts made dyes and paints, wove their clothes and made other useful items from natural materials, you can even have a go. If crafting isn’t your thing, try your hand at warrior training – find out if you can hit a target with a throwing-axe, how far you can throw your enemy’s ‘head’, or if you have what it takes to defeat the Celtic Warriors. There will also be displays of different kinds of weapons used in battles.

Check out the battle arena at the top of every hour throughout the day for Celtic battles (12.00 & 15.00), dramatic sword fighting displays by The Freelancing Knights of Redemption (13.00 & 16.00) and aerial aerobatics by falcons (14.00 & 17.00), used by the Celts and others throughout history for hunting.

Amazing Animals

Get up close and personal with the birds-of-prey that the Celts held in high regard. Get your picture taken with:

  • A Hawk – The Celts regarded the hawk as a strong omen because the hawk carried messages from the otherworlds. A hawk circling foretold both victory and death. It was a symbol of the Celtic God Bran (Bran the Blessed) described as a giant and warrior king.
  • An Owl – Believed to represent the Cailleach, the primordial Celtic Hag Goddess. The Barn owl is known as Cauileach Oidhche gheal (White old woman of the night).
  • A Falcon – A symbol of authority and prestige. Only the nobles and wealthy could own them and laws governed which type.

Check out Phil’s Farm for a range of fluffy characters large and small, which love to be petted, some of them you can even take for a walk.

Hidden History Treasure Hunt

Collect your Treasure Hunt card from the library and venture into the village of Bessbrook, solving the clues and finding out the hidden history. What secrets will you uncover? Last entry return is 2pm in the library.

In the library there will also be a display of pictures from bygone years in Bessbrook together with oil paintings by local artist Anne O Callaghan.

Books about the history of Bessbrook and the Ring of Gullion area will be available to purchase. Visitors will be able to avail of preferential booking for out upcoming bus tour of the Ring of Gullion, departing from Bessbrook at the end of August. The tour will cost £5 per person and will be guided by a range of Ring of Gullion Ambassadors who will delight you with historical tales from across the area. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get find out more about some of the most impressive sites in the Ring of Gullion.

Guided walking tour of Bessbrook at 11am from Bessbrook Library

Kick off your time at the Cultured Celts: From Celts to Cloth with a guided tour of the historical model village of Bessbrook. Visit key places in the village that tell the story of how the place was developed by John Grubb Richardson from 1845 onwards, turning it from a small village of only 200 to a world renown source of Irish linen. This is a fantastic opportunity to get inside an original period mill workers cottage.

Another walk, which can be signed up for on the day, will depart at 16.00.

This walk is suitable for families and buggies, there is the option to participate in a short walk around the village or stay on for a longer one, which will take in the Derrymore Estate.

Plenty to see and do…

Try your luck at the hook-a-duck, get your face painted like a Celtic Warrior or chill out on the rope swings.

Event Details

Lúnasa Festival 2018 – Cultured Celts: From Celts to Cloth takes place on August 18, 2018.
It starts at 11.30 and ends at 17.30.

Event Location

Bessbrook Pond Field
Abby Terrace
BT35 7AU

There will be a range of road-side parking available and a selection of car parks around the edge of the Bessbrook Pond Field, including the Bessbrook Community Centre. Please park responsibly and follow the instructions given by parking stewards.

If you live in the village of Bessbrook, please walk to the event if possible.

Book online

Lottery Funded
NIEA DoE N&M DC Biodiversity

Quick Contact

Ring of Gullion AONB
Crossmaglen Community Centre,
O’Fiaich Square,
BT35 9AA.

Tel: +44 (0)330 137 4898


Visitor Servicing and Attractions: 0330 137 4046

for any visitor servicing questions.

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