The Anglo Norman roots of Tralee, 800 years ago, can be traced to John FitzThomas Fitzgerald in 1216, also known as John of Callan also known as John of Shanid.
He died in the battle of Callan near Kilgarvan which saw the defeat of the Normans ensuring the south of the county remained Gaelic.
Celebrations began last night with a parade through the town and a mock battle.
And today will see a ‘living history’ village where more than 35 performers from Déise Medieval will show off weapons, chainmail and medieval crafts.
Medieval food-tasting is also taking place and there is even a ‘horrible history’ display with ‘jedi jousting’ in honour of the Kingdom’s love of Star Wars.
Free concerts are taking place in the town square and the venues include the community garden, marquees, Siamsa Tíre and the Kerry County Museum which specialises in matters medieval.
On Sunday, the main event is the battle for Tralee where several displays of combat tactics and a warfare battle will be on show.
Local archery clubs are also putting on displays.
The Tralee 800 Programme incorporates the annual Féile na mBláth Garden Festival and a celebration of the work of the emergency services.
Flower displays along with demonstrations by the Tralee Flower Club will also take place.
“Local emergency services will be joined by visiting services from other parts of Ireland, London and Massachusetts, USA.
“The highlight will be the heroes’ parade with massed bands marching from the Square to Denny Street and town park at 3.30pm on Sunday,” said John Griffin the council’s tourism officer. n Copies of the full programme are available from local outlets, from Kerry County Council and from the Tralee Chamber Alliance and online at www.tralee.ie.