Kinsale to celebrate Archduke Ferdinand’s 1518 visit

While the people of Cork await the arrival of a royal visitor, one town in the county is set to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the unexpected arrival of another.

While Prince Charles is scheduled to tour Cork next week, the people of Kinsale will be out in force tomorrow to commemorate the day in 1518 that Archduke Ferdinand of the Habsburg dynasty sailed into their town.

Ferdinand, whose dynasty went on to rule the Austro-Hungarian empire, was on a cruise from Spain to the Netherlands when his fleet was blown out into the Atlantic by a storm.

Eventually they made it into Kinsale to rest and resupply. He was welcomed with open arms by the population and he later wrote very favourably about his hosts, their customs, culture, and music.

In 1588 he succeeded his brother, Charles, as Holy Roman Emperor.

To commemorate the visit locals are organising a ‘Renaissance re-enactment’.

At noon a parade in period costume will be held in the the town, starting at the Galleon Mast, Pier Road. It will recreate encounters Ferdinand, his soldiers, and merchants had with townspeople and gallowglasses (Scottish mercenary soldiers).

A series of lectures will be held at the Temperance Hall from 2pm to 5pm. Among the speakers will be Dr Hiram Morgan from the School of History, UCC, who has written a book about this neglected historical event.

Alain Servantie, from Cultural Routes of Europe, will deliver a lecture on ‘Charles V and Europe in 1518’.

Javier Lopez Martin, also from Cultural Routes of Europe, will speak on ‘Spanish ships of the period’, and Katy Bond, from Cambridge University, will focus on ‘The wardrobes of the Spanish and Burgundian visitors’.

Mary Raines, from UCC, will speak on ‘Rude and Nude: how the Irish dressed in 1518’, while food historian Regina Sexton will look at what the Irish ate before the arrival of the potato.


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