1,100 people who lost their lives when three Spanish Armada ships were wrecked off the Irish coast four centuries ago were honoured at a festival in Sligo last weekend.
The poignant ceremony brought the sixth annual Celtic Fringe Festival to a close at Streedagh Beach on Sunday afternoon.
Tributes were paid on land and at sea to the memory of the 1,100 souls who perished at Streedagh in 1588 when 3 Armada ships were wrecked during Winter storms.
The OPV Centinela, a Spanish Navy ship, performed a moving tribute to their fallen comrades. The ship's captain, Lieutenant Commander Miguel Romero Contreras, said the ceremony "was very special for all of us on board" after he and his most junior seaman, Alvaro Couce, laid a floral wreath on the Atlantic ocean.
"The emotion of a day like this is difficult to put into words," he said.
"Remembering the passing of so many countrymen many years ago far away from home was a very important event for us, and I would like to thank sincerely the people of Sligo for making us feel so welcome here."
It was the first time a Spanish military vessel had journeyed into Sligo Bay since the ill-fated voyage of the Spanish Armada, when La Lavia, La Santa Maria de Visón and La Juliana were lost as the Spanish retreated following a failed invasion of England.
"The Celtic Fringe Festival enables us to engage with part of our local history which has often times been neglected,” said Eddie O’Gorman, Chair of the Celtic Fringe Festival.
"We have – due in no small part to the recovery of cannon from La Juliana last year – been able to reach many more people than ever before. With increased interest here and abroad in the Armada legacy we have here in Sligo, we’d hope that next year’s planned International Armada Conference in Sligo will really fire the imagination of Armada enthusiasts around the world."
For more information see www.celticfringefest.com
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