Sunny Shakefest attracts large crowds

'Held Hostage' - Joana Saahirah of Cairo and Davy from KHI Knight Hospitallers Ireland at Shakefest 2012

'Held Hostage' - Joana Saahirah of Cairo and Davy from KHI Knight Hospitallers Ireland at Shakefest 2012

The weather was definitely on the side of Shakefest 2012 this weekend at Charleville Castle. Large crowds of arts and culture enthusiasts and families ventured onto the Castle grounds and availed of the many diverse activities on offer during the creative festival as well as taking full advantage of camping on the picturesque grounds of Charleville Castle.

The weather proved to be a stellar element in the amazing craic and atmosphere that filled the Castle Forecourt in the afternoon as families availed of such activities as a human sized Dragonfly and Butterfly Hunt and Butterfly wings workshop, Punch and Judy and Magician show, Living History Knights Hospitaller theatrical combat re-enactments and workshops plus multicultural dance performances, especially by Joana Saahirah who travelled all the way from Cario, Egypt to share her knowledge of indepth Egyptian Folklore and who stunned the audience with her vast and authentic knowledge.

Shakefest, a Celebration of Dance and Culture, was formed at Charleville Castle in 2006 with an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Cultural Dance and Artistic Workshops that ended with a multicultural evening of dance performances.

Shakefest attendants were also treated to Hip Hop, Bachata, Jazz, Irish Dance, Fire Poi and Ribbon dance workshops to name a few as well as a truly devine performance by the Bugle Babes and their swanky talent, an amazing display of Multicultural dance, Oriental Dance demonstrations by Joana Saahirah of Cairo, a great performance by RAMBLE of the Polish Community, Fire Dance Performance by Charleville Castle, Tullamore’s The Red Embers and special Guests the fabulously painted Babylon’s Inferno as well as the crescendo of the evening which was the amazing Bulgarian and Romanian band The North Strand Kontra Band at the main stage that topped off the night of cultural entertainment.

Radio Station Midlands 103 broadcast from Charleville Castle during Shakefest and provided a great atmosphere, interviews and special prize givaways for the immediate and radio audience.

Shakefest had activities for all ages available all day long – the ethereal Fairy Glen, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Winged Friends display which included gigantic Dragonflies and Butterflies and children’s Butterfly Wing making workshop, as well as Dermot O’Hara’s Shamanistic drop-in Drumming workshops for all to enjoy besides an eternal bonfire and designated barbeque areas. The highlight of this series of interactive displays was the KHI Hospitallers Ireland, Medieval Living History Area – in which there was endless archery lessons, a fun try-on armoury and the Shakefest crowds were treated to lively, charismatic and compelling Knight Hospitaller’s combat displays demonstrating the history of the Hospitallers of Medieval times, and their interaction of the time itself.

All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund – Operation ‘Raise The Roof’ project to put a protective roof on the Charleville castle chapel. Shakefest is supported by the Offaly Local Development Company, the Offaly County Council, The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the European Commission, and The Offaly Arts Office.




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