Vikings will be gathering in St John’s over Tynwald Day weekend and setting up camp in Cooil y Ree.
The encampment, one of the highlights of the attractions on offer as the island celebrates its national day on July 7, will provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about the Vikings’ way of life – from the weapons they used to the clothes they wore and the food they ate – hear accounts of Viking sagas and, on Tynwald Hill on Tynwald Day from 10am to 10.30pm, witness a son et lumière re-enactment titled ‘The Thing (assembly) 979AD’, an interpretation of what the first Tynwald might have looked like.
Organiser John Shakespeare said: ‘Local and visiting Vikings are taking part in the celebrations. Our Viking encampment is free to enter and will be open on Sunday, July 6, from 1 to 7pm and on Monday, July 7, from 10am to 5pm. Throughout the two days there will be combat and living history displays, storytelling and fun and games for all the family then, for the Thing performance, visitors can expect a memorable experience complete with music and flaming torches.’
As Island of Culture 2014 celebrations continue, Manx music and culture will take centre stage with local and visiting musicians from Germany and Menorca performing throughout the day, while the free-to-enter Manx Tent will showcase many fascinating aspects of the island’s rich cultural heritage and play host to organisations including the World Manx Association and Yn Chruinnaght.
Creative workshops have long been a feature of Tynwald Day attractions and in honour of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox, one of the most influential figures in the art nouveau movement in the British Isles, the Bunscoill’s ‘Take Part in Art’ programme will include an opportunity for children to produce a mosaic inspired by his work.
Central to celebrating the Isle of Man’s unique parliamentary system will be the formal open-air proceedings of Tynwald Court on Tynwald Hill while this year’s President’s Tynwald Day quiz will challenge people’s powers of observation and knowledge of Viking runes.
The day’s proceedings will draw to a close with the Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums playing on Tynwald Hill at 10.30pm.
President of Tynwald Clare Christian, said: ‘The landscaping of Cooil y Ree symbolises aspects of the island’s Celtic and Viking past, making the park a fitting setting for welcoming a gathering of present-day “Vikings” to share in our national day celebrations and offer an insight into a people whose influence endures to this day.
‘Additionally, in this year when the island is showcasing the arts in all their diversity, the programme of entertainment features a heightened emphasis on music, dance and creativity - traditional and contemporary - that will vividly reflect Island of Culture’s “Be Inspired. Get Involved” call to action.’
Grandstand seat tickets, priced £4 to include a programme, can be purchased by contacting the Tynwald Library, telephone 685520.