The crowning of Edward Bruce as King of Ireland in 1315 was commemorated with flamboyant style at Carrickfergus Castle on Saturday – 700 years to the day since it happened.
Thousands attended the Bruce Festival 2015, held by the Ulster Scots Agency and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council in partnership with the NIEA.
The festival, which featured The Knights of Royal England, Europe’s premier jousting team, took spectators on a journey through time with a range of medieval events and entertainment including jousting, dramatic re-enactments, street theatre, falconry, traditional storytelling, blacksmith demonstrations, archery, medieval battle workshops and family entertainment.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Council, DUP councillor Billy Ashe, said it was “an excellent day where we had between 6,000 and 8,000 people attending the event many of whom visited the castle”.
Mr Ashe said the day concluded with the unveiling of a plaque to Edward Bruce in the market square of Carrickfergus.
“The entertainment during the day was themed around 700 years ago and children and young people had the opportunity to practice some of the swordmanship.”
He joked that while everyone is glad it is 700 years on “we are also most glad to be in a position to be celebrating something like that as it shows how far the world has moved on in that time”.
Catriona Holmes from the Ulster Scots Agency said Edward Bruce took part in a three and a half year campaign in Ireland “up and down the country from as far down as Dundalk to the north coast”.
“They literally came in and had various battles,” she said. “Edward was killed outside Dundalk in 1318. He would then have been in his 20s. People in medieval times would only have lived to 40 or 50 as it was a very vicious time. When someone was injured in a battle and infection set in there was no cure.”