As part of the Celtic Fringe Festival taking place this weekend, the Spanish Navy OPV Arnomendi is visiting Sligo Bay.
The festival begins today and will continue throughout the weekend with a number of different events and activities including a book launch, walks and talks, BBQ and traditional music.
On Sunday the annual commemorative event will take place at the Armada Monument on Streedagh Beach. There will be parade and a wreath laying event and also a naval salute from the visiting Spanish Naval vessel. Three ships La Lavia, La Juliana and Santa Maria de Visón lost their battle with the stormy and wild Atlantic waves and wrecked at Streedagh Beach Co. Sligo taking with them over 1000 souls.
This weekend an Armada International Conference is also taking place in Sligo. The conference titled ‘A Gathering Storm – bringing the Spanish Armada into the 21st century and beyond’ will feature a number of interesting talks and discussions about the Spanish Armada.
In August of 1588 a fleet of 130 ships, the Spanish Armada, sailed from A Coruña with plans to invade England. They were met with serious resistance and clashed with the English at the Battle of Gravelines. Defeated they were driven back to the North Sea. They attempted to return home but the wild storms strayed them from their course and they headed towards the west coast of Ireland.
At the mercy of the weather, 24 ships were wrecked on the rocky coastline and at least 5000 men perished and those that managed to reach the shore didn’t fare any better. A proclamation was issued that said harbouring the Spanish castaways was punishable by death. Men lucky enough to escape the waves were killed as soon as they landed ashore.