Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival is back with a bang

Military re-enactors marking the Wild Geese Festival at King John's Castle.

THE Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival will celebrate the city’s links with France over the weekend of July 15 to 17.

Launched in 2019 by Limerick City and County Council and the Consular Agency of France in Limerick, the festival commemorates the Flight of the Wild Geese after the Siege of Limerick and celebrates the longstanding friendship between Ireland and France, now our closest EU neighbour.

It is one of the few cultural events listed in the joint action plan between Ireland and France signed during President Macron’s visit last August.

The 2022 event is organised by Alliance Française Limerick in partnership with the Limerick Civic Trust and will be held on the weekend closest to Bastille Day, the French national day. 

The programme of events gets under way on Friday 15 July with a two-day conference bringing together some of the best experts on the Wild Geese and Irish migrants in early modern Europe.

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Mary Immaculate College is the venue for the first day’s events with activities on the second day moving to St John’s Church, John’s Square. 

Dr Liam Chambers, Head of the History Department at MIC said the festival organisers were looking forward to welcoming a group of distinguished international speakers to Limerick to share their research and insights. 

On Saturday, July 16, a boules tournament will be held in the Hunt Museum garden where historical re-enactors from En Garde will set up their Living History Camp along with performances by the Limerick School of Music, the St Mary’s Prize Band and Scoil Ui Ruairc.

The day will culminate with a fashion show in St Mary’s Cathedral at 8pm featuring more than 30 French and Irish designer brands.

The show will be a tribute to Lady Honora Burke, Patrick Sarsfield’s wife, whose style and charisma made a sensation at the royal court of Saint-Germain in France where the couple were exiled following the Flight of the Wild Geese in 1691.

On Sunday, July 17, a parade and flag raising ceremony supported by the Defence Forces and veteran associations will take place at King John’s Castle. It will include the performance by the Irish Chamber Orchestra and special guests of “Symphony 32 / Siansach 32”, an original piece of music written by French composer Dr Erick Falc’her-Poyroux in honour of the centenary of Ireland’s independence.

Live music and street animations will mark the end of this year’s festival on Nicholas Street.

Dr Loïc Guyon, Honorary Consul of France, Alliance française Limerick Cultural Coordinator and founder of the festival said they were looking forward to celebrating Limerick’s local history and Ireland’s special connection to France through three days of free educational events, entertainment, fun and artistic performances.

Limerick Civic Trust chairperson Patricia Roberts described the festival as an exciting celebration of Ireland and France.

“It celebrates our heritage and culture through a range of events specially curated by a passionate hardworking voluntary committee.  The festival promotes our unique Treaty city, its music culture, fashion couture, our food culture and much more”. she explained. 

A link to the full festival programme can be found on the website or here