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The Ring of Gullion Winter Solstice Festival begins this week and continues with many events running until 22 December.

From plays to sessions to workshops to walks, to history to volunteering to wellbeing there is much to see. You can find out about all the happenings and book when required at www.ringofgullion.org

 

The festival includes a series of lectures celebrating the events that shaped the culture and landscape of the area.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership are hosting the lectures.

Kicking off the programme of workshops will be Paul Gosling, a native of Dundalk who lectures fulltime in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. A professional archaeologist and a member of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, Paul will discuss his current research on the route aspects of the medieval epic, Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle raid of Cooley) on Thursday 8 November at 7.30pm in Cross Square Hotel.

Professional Archaeologist and Lecturer Paul Gosling, will be providing one of the lecturers at this year's Ring of Gullion Winter Festival
Professional Archaeologist and Lecturer Paul Gosling, will be providing one of the lecturers at this year's Ring of Gullion Winter Festival

Táin Bó Cúailnge is the story of a cattle-raid reputed to have taken place during winter sometime around the time of Christ. Set in a rural, tribal and pagan Ireland, it is peopled with fearless warriors, haughty queens and kings and prize bulls. It is often ranked alongside Ireland’s greatest literary classics and frequently described as ‘epic literature’.

On Tuesday, 20 November, the focus will be on more recent history when Dr Éamon Phoenix makes his welcome return to the area. Dr Phoenix, a political historian, journalist and commentator, is a member of the Taoiseach’s Expert Advisory Group on Centenaries. His book, ‘An Ulster Unionist at the 1916 Rising’ is based on the 1916 diary of Belfast-man, James Mitchell who arrived in Dublin on Easter Saturday. Dr Phoenix will be covering ‘The North Began: Northern Narratives of the 1916 Rising’ in Bessbrook Town Hall at 7.30pm.

Rounding off the Solstice programme is Dr Kirstin Lemon from Geological Survey of Northern Ireland. On Tuesday, 27 November, she will be speaking about ‘Rock Legends: Myth Busting in Mourne Gullion and Strangford’. Dr Lemon will look at some of the myths around the unique geology of the area, explaining the subject in language accessible to all.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “I am certain that his exciting programme will be of interest to a wide range of people. We are very lucky that the Ring of Gullion Winter Solstice Festival can avail of such a prestigious range of speakers, both locally and nationally, who will highlight the significance of this area in respect of the history, architecture and geology of Ireland.”

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