The members of the Clontarf Business Association have come together in June over the last few years to highlight the reasons for shopping local in the Clontarf area of Dublin. This year was no exception and it was bigger and bolder than all previous years.
With the millennial celebration of the Battle of Clontarf peeping over the horizon, the festival was presented along with a full viking village, offering visitors a chance to see how people lived a thousand years ago. Stands re-inacted tradespeople at work, making coins, carving from wood, spinning yarn from raw wool and the village even had a herbologist, advising on natural methods and homegrown remedies to cure all ailments.
During the day children had a chance to spar like vikings and move in battlement formation with their viking leader instructing them on holding sword and shield and the correct positions of defence, upon being attacked by the enemy. The crowd were treated to a re-inactment of the Battle of Clontarf by the vikings themselves, during which the sound of metal against metal proved to be too much for many who were faint of heart.
As well as the obvious presence of the vikings during the weekend, there was also a huge inflatable bouncy assault course and a petting zoo, including the chance to hold a Boa Constrictor python snake and an Empire Scorpion from the Reptile Village Zoo Conservation based in Kilkenny. Other attractions included a formula one car, a full festival stage featuring music and entertainment from local talent throught the festival, the Dublin Fire Brigade opening a fire truck for photos with locals and the highlight of the festival, a live Air Sea rescue demonstration by the Irish Coast Guard Helicopter.
The heart of the festival has to be acknowledged and a big well done to the Clontarf Business People who brought their restaurants and businesses outside to the seafront for the weekend, keeping the visitors well fed and happy with their delicious food. In particular Moloughneys and Kinara, who worked tirelessly each day to bring fresh produce, cooked in the open air and served in the most scenic of locations, despite the obvious logistical problems. Lets hope 2013 has the beautiful weather we had this year and the festival grows in strenght. Irishgathering2013.com commends the Clontarf Business Association for organising such a terrific event and we believe it sets a precedent for other communities to follow.