Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival

Festival actors dressed in traditional Norman era military attire.

The Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival is Limerick’s newest annual summer festival. Organised by Limerick Civic Trust and the Honorary Consular Agency of France in the Mid-West, with the support of the Limerick City and County Council. The festival took place at the Hunt Museum and featured a wide array of family friendly entertainment. Limerick Mental Health Association is a proud sponsor of the Hunt Museum and were happy to aid with the festivities of the Bastille Day Wild Geese festival 2021. Adam Grace, a UL Co-op student currently on placement with LMHA, writes about his experience of the festivities.

Ray and Elizabeth from LMHA enjoying the festival
Ray and Elizabeth from LMHA enjoying the festival

The goal was to celebrate the 330th anniversary of the Flight of the Wild Geese and the longstanding friendship between Ireland and France. The term ‘Wild Geese’ has been used to describe those Irish serving in European armies since the 16th century. The historical episode known as the ‘Flight of the Wild Geese’ refers to the 12,000+ Irish Jacobite soldiers, commanded by Patrick Sarsfield, who left Ireland for France as agreed in the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, ending the Williamite War in Ireland. The Wild Geese formed King James’ army in exile but by 1692 were incorporated into the French Army.

orchestral performances on bastille day
Attendees were treated to two spectacular orchestral performances.

As I was walking around with a LMHA donation bucket I had to opportunity to speak to many of the people in attendance. Some of the highlights for the attendees were:

“The costumes are so beautiful, so bright and colourful but when those soldier’s shots those guns, that was amazing!” – Jessica

“The music was my favourite part, I think I preferred the second band more but both were amazing, seriously talented like!”  – Joe

“The Boules was brilliant, my first time playing but I loved it, its such a sociable game and everyone was so friendly about it, will definitely look to play again soon.” – Mary

Traditional French Boules Tournament
Traditional French Boules tournament.

To add to the festivities, the Hunt Museum organized a traditional French Boules tournament which was a highlight for many. French Boules or Petanque is a traditional French sport originating from the Medieval age. The objective is to score points by having boules closer to the target than the opponent after all boules have been thrown. This is achieved by throwing or rolling boules closer to the small target ball, officially called a jack but known colloquially as a cochonnet, or by hitting the opponent’s boules away from the target, while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground. The tournament at the Hunt Museum was a complete success, it attracted locals players and players from across the country, first-timers and veterans had a great time. The winners were awarded a very high-quality bottle of wine from O’Briens Wine and runners-up received bottles of Pastis. The prizes were presented by Honorary Consul of France in Limerick. The tournament ran from approximately 2:30pm and 8:00pm and was thoroughly enjoyed by all the attended. LMHA are proud of their participation in the festival and are eagerly awaiting its return next summer.

Actors in traditional attire of that time period
Traditional attire of the time period

Giedre of the Hunt Museum would sincerely like thank the following for all the invaluable help.

  • Limerick Mental Health Association: Elizabeth Stundon, Ray O’Halloran and Adam Grace
  • The Hunt Museum Docent: Peggy Ryan
  •  Secretary of Frankfield Petanque Club: Cathal O’Boyle
Orchestra performing on Bastille Day
– A great day all around, eagerly anticipating the festival’s return next year

If you are interested in joining any of the numerous other groups or avail of the various supports that LMHA offers, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Call Us: 061 446786, Mon- Thurs 11am-4pm.

Written by Adam Grace, a UL Co-op student currently on placement with LMHA.