Knights flaking each other for first time in 400 years — and it’s happening in Claregalway

Fancy seeing knights go at it hell for leather, but don’t fancy having to go back in time to do it. Well then, Claregalway Castle is the place for you next weekend.

The first full-contact medieval tournament in Ireland for over 400 years will be happening at Claregalway Castle over the weekend of the Saturday September 19/20 from 11am to 5pm.

Armoured knights from across the globe will be descending on the fantastically restored 15th century Tower house for this very unusual but very real martial arts tournament.

Team Ireland, who recently competed at the World Championships for the first time last May, will have a tough fight on their hands with combatants from across the World competing to take home the Claregalway Castle Shield.

The sport of full-contact medieval combat is not for the faint-hearted; wearing full medieval armour, with sword, axe or mace in hand the competitors will be going toe to toe in a brutal and exhausting contest of strength, speed and, above all, skill. A huge range of attacks are allowed, from strikes with the weapons, to shield punches, throws, kicks and headbutts.

The tournament is divided up into 3 1v1 categories; Pole weapons, longsword and sword & shield where fighters score points for solid hits, similar to the scoring system in boxing. As well as the individual categories there is also a brutal 3v3 group category, were the winner is decided by the last team standing.

As well as all the fighting there will be a great selection of medieval fun on offer including have-a-go archery, a display on medieval life, talks on the goriest aspects of medieval surgery, music and more.

On Sunday September 20, Veteran living history interpreter and field archaeologist Dave Swift will give demonstrations on the Late Medieval period c.1500-1600 focusing on Connacht’s (and Galway’s ) greatest medieval battle - the Battle of Knockdoe 1504. Recreated artefacts on display will include swords and other melee weaponry, armour, ceramics, clothing, leather goods, coinage and a ballistics display showcasing musketry and archery.

Acclaimed Puppet Master Tommy Baker will present, each day, a medieval themed puppet show – The Legend of Lowery Lynch – which has been a sell out event at many large international festivals.   Duration is 45 minutes and is for those aged six years and upwards.  

Admission at the gate to Claregalway Castle.  Adults €8, Chilldren €5.  Puppet show – special tournament rate €5.

This is guaranteed to be a hugely enjoyable event, with something on offer for all ages and interests, and a unique opportunity to see the medieval tournament brought back to life.

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