*Photograph: Eamon Ward

NORSE WARRIORS will descend on Craggaunowen this May Bank Holiday Weekend (4-5th May) when the Clare visitor attraction is transformed into a Viking village.

The highlight of the ‘Viking Invasion of Craggaunowen’ will be the battle recreations on the Castle Green at 11.00am, 12.30pm, 2.00pm and 3.30pm daily when warring warriors demonstrate their fierce battle skills.

After each battle, children will be offered a unique opportunity to participate in shield drills in which they will learn about the infamous Viking Shield Wall, the battle formation used by the warriors during combat.

Visitors will learn about how the pagan warriors lived by exploring historically accurate workshop tents where crafters will be demonstrating their trading, silversmithing, leather working, pottery, armoury, fibre crafts, hunting and fishing skills.

There also will be cooking demonstrations over open fires featuring the use of authentic ingredients that the Vikings would have had access to.

A replica vessel of the kind Vikings are believed to have sailed in from Scandinavia to North America will also be available for visitors to view. The Brendan Boat was built in 1976 by explorer Tim Severin, who successfully completed a 4,500-mile transatlantic crossing, and is on permanent display at Craggaunowen.

Members of the public will discover the origins of coins and how they were introduced to Ireland by the Vikings. A Viking Moneyer will demonstrate of how coins were made by hand, with each child receiving a complimentary replica coin as a memento of their visit. Kids of all ages will also be able to participate in Viking-themed activities from the “throwing logs” game of Knubb to Hnefatafl, a game akin to modern-day chess.

Pauline Lenihan, Site Manager at Craggaunowen said the ‘Viking Invasion of Craggaunowen’ promises to be an educational and entertaining weekend for all the family. “This event brings the stories, traditions and history of the Vikings to life at our open-air museum and offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day lives of Vikings and the real people behind the legend of the ‘men from the north’. We look forward to welcoming people of all ages to our visitor attraction over the course of the weekend”.

Managed by Clare County Council, the Shannon Heritage visitor attraction at Craggaunowen, this year celebraters the 50th anniversary of its foundation by John Hunt of The Hunt Collection, recreates what life would have been like for the Bronze Age inhabitants of Ireland. The attraction features a 16th-century castle and a reconstructed “crannog” showing how Celts lived, worked, and defended themselves.

Tickets for the ‘Viking Invasion of Craggaunowen’ are available online at www.craggaunowen.ie (normal admission rates apply).

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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