The Táin March is a story of envy, honour and military prowess. The armies of Connacht and Ulster met in a titanic struggle over a prize bull called Donn Cúailnge. The Táin March starts in Rathcroghan in Co. Roscommon, where Queen Medb began her quest for the Brown Bull of Cooley and ends in Bush, Cooley, Co. Louth. Over three weekends and twelve walking days, marchers walk from Rathcroghan all the way to Cooley following Queens Medb’s route in pursuit of the Brown Bull.
‘FREE events are taking place in Tulsk, Roscommon, Strokestown, Sliabh Bawn, Clondra and Longford to mark the first weekend of the Táin March Festival. Celebrate the Táin March Festival and get involved in the fun!’ said Nollaig Feeney, Heritage Officer, Roscommon County Council.
On Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 7pm in Rathcroghan Visitor Centre, Tulsk hear the story of the Táin in all its gory detail with master storyteller Mike McCarty – this version of the tale is not suitable for kids!
On Thursday 16th May 2019 at 6pm in Áras an Chontae, Roscommon there will be a Launch of the Táin Arts Exhibition – childrens art and poetry from 2017 and 2018. There will also be a Launch of ‘The Cats of Cruachan’ – a short animation inspired by the children’s poetry and art. Refreshments served. Followed at 7pm by a Procession from Áras an Chontae to Roscommon Castle for a dramatic presentation on the origins of the Táin Bó Cúailnge.
On Friday 17th May 2019 at 11am Queen Medb will assemble her warrior army at Rathcroghan Mound, one of the Royal Sites of Ireland, and dispatch them to retrieve the Brown Bull in Cooley. School children gather at Rathcroghan Mound to greet Queen Medb and send her army on their way. Each school ‘battalion’ will read a praise poem for their warrior Queen. Marchers depart on the first leg of their journey as far as Lissonuffy. At 7pm join Queen Medb’s army in Strokestown as they march down Church Street to Bawn Street for an evening of food, fun, music and entertainment. Winners of local school’s art competition will be announced.
On Saturday 18th May 2019 at 10.30am all are welcome to join the marchers as they cross Sliabh Bawn. Use the west entrance to the mountain, meeting point is T20. Bring your lunch! Costumes will be available so come along and get dressed up as a member of Queen Medb’s Iron Age Army. Hear Ancient Music Ireland, greet the marchers with their prehistoric musical instruments as they arrive from Lissonuffy. The tale of the Táin will be told as the march proceeds to Johns of Doughill where there will be a free bus to bring walkers back to their car. The walk is followed at 2pm by a Warriors Feast with Queen Medb in attendance. Walkers can sample a taste of Táin era food and Mead brewed from the mysterious depths of Oweynagat cave. The fun continues in Longford with family costume design workshops, a talk by Monumental Ireland, Queen Medb ceremony and a performance of the Women of the Woods by Candlelit Tales.
On Sunday 19th May 2019 at 10am the Marchers depart Johns of Doughill and proceed to Clondra and on to Longford town for a Táin March procession, poetry and art exhibition, storytelling, face painting and music. For details of Longford events follow The Táin March Longford on Facebook.
See www.tainmarch.ie and Facebook for more details. Special thanks to the following for all their help: Daniel Curley from Rathcroghan Visitor Centre – on the importance of the tale to Roscommon – 087 9731886; Marie Gilhooly – on how the local community have gotten involved – 087 6890273; Richard Siberry, Black Donkey Brewery – on how they have brewed beer and mead from the mysterious depths of Oweynagat cave – 087 6181690; Tim Mullins, Táin March Festival Committee, Dundalk – on how they have linked-in with communities across the country to celebrate the story of the Táin – 086 8184952 and Danny Compton and the Strokestown Town Team – 086 8091336.