On Saturday May 4 'Zorrofest Wexford' will celebrate the life and legend of a real-life ‘Irish Zorro’ - 17th-century Wexford-man William Lamport, this pirate, soldier, spy and would-be revolutionary a rebellious romantic rascal and swashbuckling righter of wrongs, was a Wexford-man and also the writer of the first independence proclamation of the Americas. A statue of "Guillén de Lampart" - as he is known in Mexico - guards the tomb of their revolutionary heroes and Independence Monument to this day.
His story has been hidden for centuries in the Mexican Inquisition’s archives, and rediscovered only in the last quarter of the last century. He was an "Irish Zorro" who led a life of adventure as fantastic as any fiction, and shaped the Mexican folk-culture from which these stories drew their inspiration.Imprisoned for years by the Inquisition in New Spain for consorting with a native shaman, he was also a prolific writer and thinker, using bed sheets for paper and candle soot for ink. After a brilliant escape and call to revolt, he cheated his own death at the stake.
"Wexicans" are celebrating both fiction and amazing history this May bank holiday weekend, with a festival in honour of both man and myth at Zorrofest! Masked heroes and a carnival of colourful creatures will jump forth from the pages of literary legend and folk history, and onto to the streets of Wexford. International guests will offer unprecedented intellectual insights to his heritage, and share wonderful cultural experiences for all to enjoy.
Commenting on the event, festival director Karla Sanchez Zepeda said, "This weekend will be a festive occasion for the whole family, celebrating cultural connections between Mexico and Ireland. We have various high-profile guests from Mexico and Ireland, including current Mexican Ambassador His Excellency Carlos Garcia de Alba Zepeda, who will be coming down to sample this ‘Wexican’ Fiesta."
Renowned Mexican Historian Dr. Andrea Martinez Baracs will present her latest book on William Lamport. Writings of great historical and intellectual importance by the very hand of Lamport himself are seeing the light of public and international examination for the first time in centuries. One of them is a letter to the King of Spain, petitioning the Spanish Crown to come to the aid of Ireland, and free it from English rule.”
Zorrofest will be a fun-filled day for everyone to enjoy, visitors can move to the rhythm of Mariachi music and folkloric Mexican dance, enjoy the magic of a fantastic street show by Buí Bolg inspired by Mexican Artist José Guadalupe Posada, and savour some of the aromas and flavours of Mexican ‘Wex-Mex’ cuisine at selected restaurants.
Visitors can enjoy some wonderful notes of Classical Spanish guitar, and follow the steps of a 17th century native in a historic walking tour. Admire the beautiful collage-tapestry created by children from Schull Primary school in Cork, and learn even more about the life of this Wexford man - honoured to this day in the heart of Mexico.
William Lamport was born in Wexford town in 1611. He was the youngest of the four children of Richard Lamport and Anastasia Sutton, scion of a noble Catholic ‘Old English’ family, who originally came to Ireland with Strongbow in the twelfth century, and built a castle at Rosslare.
For further details on the festival see www.visitwexford.ie.