Medieval history demonstrations and displays new to Shakefest this year

Medieval battle re-enactments will be a new feature of Shakefest this year

Medieval battle re-enactments will be a new feature of Shakefest this year

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.  7 years on, Shakefest grows from strength to strength and will be offering much more interactive activities and performances for all ages. Shakefest takes place once again at the beautiful Charleville Castle, starting at 12pm.

New to Shakefest this year is our LIVE HISTORY section – KHI (Knight Hospitaller Ireland) Medieval Re-enactors will be treating audiences to Combat Re-enactments of the Crusaders Knight’s Templar as well as providing authentic Medieval tents, a full try-on armoury and archery for all ages.  KHI celebrates the historical ties that bind to Charleville Castle and the symbolism of its personal history, and will be an entertaining and educational experience for young and old at Shakefest. 

An fascinating mix of KHI Medieval Re-enactors have been involved in the likes of King Arthur, Your Highness, Vlad, The Virgin and the Warrior, Family Feud and Hound of Erin (pilot) as well as school documentaries on RTE and Channel 4, primarily about the Vikings and the Normans. KHI have most recently lent their Medieval Battle skills to popular HBO series Game of Thrones.

Another major cultural highlight of Shakefest 2012 is our honor to host International Guest Instructor Joana Saahirah, who is coming all the way from Cairo to share her knowledge of Egyptian History, Folklore and Oriental Dance with an informative cultural talk which takes place at 3pm in the castle forecourt for all attendants.

Joana has delighted Egyptian audiences with her live Orchestral shows in Cairo with some of the best Egyptian musicians and travels worldwide sharing her passion and education.  Artistically and technically rich, Joana Saahirah brings back the SOUL to Oriental Dance; and will be conducting 3 workhops of different levels in the Classical, Saiidi, Tahtib and Alexandria of Mellaya style for Oriental dance students from all corners of the country.

For dance enthusiasts of all ages, we have a special workshop called ‘DANCE LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON’ instructed by Declan Kiely who performs regularly as a tribute to Michael Jackson. Hip Hop, Jazz, Natural Voice singing lessons, Poi and Ribbon dancing, Bachata and Argentinian Tango are also on offer to try out.  Giant winged friends such as Dragonflies and Butterflies, a wing making workshop for kids, Punch and Judy a Magic show, Juggling and Stiltwalking show by Stagecraft Ireland, Drum Circle, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Fairy Glen are all on offer for kids and families between 12-6pm. Midlands 103 will also be broadcasting on site and will have great prizes and givaways.

For those camping overnight, or who stay on, evening performances highlighted will be our annual Multicultural Hafla, followed by daring Fire Show by The Red Embers and special guests Babylon’s Inferno, and 40’s Swing by The Bugle Babes.  To finish the evening in a cultural and energetic crescendo, Shakefest this year hosts The North Strand Kontra Band from Dublin.  The North Strand Kontra Band was formed on the North side of Dublin in the Winter of 2005. They are an instrumental band who play a mix of original and traditional material influenced predominantly by the music of Romania and Bulgaria. The band has played to critical acclaim in many of the leading venues and festivals at home and abroad with their live shows being lauded for their high energy levels and explosive musicianship.

Tickets for Shakefest can be purchased at the gate, on or and range from €10 general admission, €10 camping, €20 family day pass or only €15 for evening entertainment and gates open at 12pm.  All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund – Operation ‘Raise The Roof’ project in which money will be raised towards putting a protective roof on the 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, the Offaly Leader and The Offaly Arts Office.




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