02 Dec 2019
The renowned Armagh Georgian Festival returns at the end of November to mark the beginning of the Christmas festive season in Northern Ireland.
For those who like good period drama, there is nowhere more evocative of a bygone age than the city of Armagh as it shows off its rich Georgian history and heritage in the lead-up to Christmas.
Taking over the city from 27 November to 1 December, the unrivalled Armagh Georgian Festival will animate the historic streets with colour and spectacle, costume and drama, tours and trails, as well as tastings and tipples.
Historic buildings will open their doors and remember Richard Robinson. He was enthroned as Archbishop of Armagh in 1765 and is the man responsible for transforming Armagh into a city of stunning Georgian architecture.
The festival will include a sumptuous Georgian Banquet (29 November) in the setting of Archbishop Robinson’s Palace. Guests will travel through the mists of time to charming Vienna, capital of the Habsburg Empire under Emperor Joseph II, to encounter the golden age of a city alive with eighteenth-century baroque culture.
The banquet will range over five courses evoking the menus of the time but served with a modern twist. A cocktail reception with accompanying fine wines and a concluding Viennese serenade with authentic songs and arias will add to the Georgian ambience.
The festival programme peaks on the unmissable Georgian Day (30 November), when the city will be buzzing with evocative costumed Georgian figures, street entertainment and festive market stalls hosted by traders in traditional costume and offering high quality gifts and locally produced artisan food and drink.
With everything from horse and carriage rides, wax sealing workshops and Georgian keyboard lessons, to portrait silhouette cutting (all the rage in fashionable Georgian society) and mock Georgian trials at Armagh Courthouse, Georgian Day will be packed with entertaining and unusual activities.
As darkness falls, the dramatic ‘A Christmas Cracker’ light show will burst into life, illuminating the backdrop of the Georgian Market House and creating a festive atmosphere with contemporary and seasonal music. Festivities will also include a themed Children’s Christmas Market, talks, tours and more.
Aside from its Georgian history, heritage and architecture, Armagh is also home to a host of museums and theatres, a planetarium and two magnificent cathedrals dedicated to St Patrick.
With local hotels, boutique guesthouses and cosy bed and breakfasts offering fabulous festival accommodation packages, it will be well worth travelling back in time to the fashion, arts and food of Armagh’s great Georgian era.
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