SPANISH NAVY SHIP TO COMMEMORATE ARMADA IN SLIGO
As part of the upcoming Celtic Fringe Festival, which commemorates Spanish Armada links with Sligo, a Spanish Navy ship will sail into Sligo Bay for the duration of the festival between September 22nd-25th next.
The OPV Centinela will join a flotilla of local boats for a Parade of Sail from Mullaghmore to Streedagh Beach to remember the 1,100 souls who perished there in 1588, when 3 ships of the Spanish Armada sank during Winter storms.
“The Parade of Sail will be an opportunity to remember all of the Spanish sailors who were part of the Armada, as we seek to continue to uncover one of the great untold stories of the history of this county,” said Eddie O’Gorman, Chairperson of the Celtic Fringe Festival ahead of this September’s events.
Boat owners interested in forming part of the flotilla to honour the Spanish Armada on Sunday afternoon September 25th are asked to contact the festival in advance on www.celticfringefest.com.
The Parade of Sail will form the culmination of the festival’s events which this year will see a series of events and lectures take place in Sligo town, in Grange and at Streedagh. Many of the events are free to the public and include guided walks along the De Cuellar Trail, the route taken by the Spanish Armada Captain Francisco de Cuellar, one of the few to escape the English after the Armada. Other highlights include nightly music events, a series of Armada lectures at the Glasshouse Hotel, and a Gala Reception at Sligo City Hall hosted by Mayor of Sligo Marie Casserly to honour the Spanish Deputy Head of Mission of the Spanish Embassy to Ireland, Mr. Rafael Soriano, Vice Admiral Fernando Zumalacárregui, Director of Naval History and Culture and Director of the Naval Museum; Lieutenant Commander Miguel Adolfo Romero Contreras and Officers of OPV Centinela, Spanish Navy (Armada).
“The Spanish Embassy is delighted to be part of the Celtic Fringe Festival”, Ambassador Rodríguez-Coso said, “and the participation of OPV Centinela will highlight the fact that the Festival has great emotional value for Spain, since the Streedagh wrecks happen to be the resting place for more than a thousand Spanish soldiers and sailors”. “I would also like to pay tribute to the outstanding work of GADA (the Grange & Armada Development Association) in the preservation of the Armada Memory in Sligo. Due to unforeseen circumstances, and much to my regret, I will not be able to attend this year´s edition of the Festival but I am happy to announce that Deputy Head of Mission Rafael Soriano will represent the Embassy during this event”.
“It’s a great honour to have our Spanish guests of honour in attendance for the Celtic Fringe Festival,” said Councillor Casserly. “This is the second visit by a Spanish delegation to Sligo to commemorate the Armada, and we are delighted that they have decided to visit us again this year to take part in the events relating to their country’s history. This is another important chapter in linking Sligo and Spain and the history we share in relation to the Spanish Armada.”
Lieutenant Commander Miguel Romero Contreras, Commanding Officer of the Spanish Navy’s OPV Centinela said “we are thrilled to be part of this celebration and be given the opportunity to pay respect, together with the people of Sligo, to all those sailors who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our country”.
3 ships, the Santa Maria de Visión, the Juliana and the Lavia, sank at Streedagh Beach following the Spanish Armada retreat from the pursuing English Navy during the Autumn of 1588. Last Summer, dives at Streedagh by the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) of the Dept. of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs recovered 9 cannon and several other artefacts from one of the sunken vessels, the Juliana. These artefacts are now undergoing a lengthy restoration and preservation process in the National Museum, Dublin.
“These were most significant finds,” said Fionnbarr Moore of the UAU of the recovery of the Streedagh cannon. “It was incredible to bring to the surface cannon and other items which had most likely never been seen since the Armada sank. The cannon, in particular, are in excellent condition, and the preservation process is now well underway.”
Following on from the discovery of the Juliana artefacts in 2015, news of their retrieval became a worldwide event. Extensive print, online and TV coverage followed, including in many of the Spanish national news media. A listing of these press cuttings can be accessed at this link.
The annual Celtic Fringe Festival takes place on September 22nd-25th next at various locations in Sligo, Grange, Streedagh and Mullaghmore, and further details on the programme of events are available at www.celticfringefest.com.