Athy, South Kildare Festival

South Kildare Medieval Festival
Next edition dates to be announced (the event was last held in 2015)
Athy (County Kildare)


an interactive event devoted to the local historical and cultural Celtic and Viking heritage with a rich programme of lectures, walking tours, workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations and living history displays exploring several aspects of the medieval civilian and military daily life, and much more for a fun informative family weekend out to see, hear, touch and taste history in a vivid and exciting way...


Geographical, cultural and historical context

Athy is situated at the confluence of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal (a canal connecting Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with the River Shannon in the west), about 72 km from Dublin in county Kildare, in Ireland. Athy owes its name to a 2nd century BC chieftain, Ae, who is said to have been killed on the river crossing, thus giving the town its name "the town of Ae's ford". The town developed from a 12th century Anglo-Norman settlement to an important stronghold on the local estates of the FitzGerald earls of Kildare. Athy is also famous for hosting at the local Heritage Centre a permanent exhibition on the polar expeditions of Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922, Irish explorer) with an impressive scale model of his famous ship Endurance.


Event description and programme

Every year Athy is home to a great historical event, The South Kildare Medieval Festival: a fun informative family day out harmoniously blending living history, archaeology, hands-on workshops and exhibitions. The visitors will experience as well the reenactment of a "handfasting" ceremony (an ancient Celtic ceremony of temporary or permanent betrothal or wedding dating back to pre-Christian times in Ireland and Scotland and usually involves the tying or binding of the hands of the bride and groom with a cord or ribbon. The programme includes dressing and training of the knights, exhibitions animals and birds, walking tours at the local heritage and at the historical camps with living history displays illustrating the daily life during the Middle Ages, experimental archaeology demonstrations with digging and recording open for everyone, workshops on medieval crafts, writing and calligraphy, music and dance shows, falconry displays and master-classes on archery. Several exhibitions and public lectures on history and archaeology will be held as well.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Athy Heritage Centre-Museum / Shackleton Museum Athy
Address: Emily Square, Athy, Co Kildare, Republic Of Ireland
Tel.: +353 59 8633075

Athy Kildare County Council

Image: Athy Heritage Centre-Museum
Text sources: Athy Heritage Centre-Museum


Athy on Google Maps:



Promos and video reportages of the event:



statistiche free