Wexford Celebrates Roots of Zorro with Mexican Festival



Evidence has been unmasked to show that Zorro, the swarthy swashbuckling hero was in fact a red-bearded Irishman from Wexford.

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The Gringos of Wexford are celebrating the heros memory this May bank holiday weekend with a Mexican festival ‘El regreso del Zorro’ – the return of Zorro.

 

The one known as ‘El Zorro’ will jump forth from the pages of fiction, masked and caped and take to the streets of Wexford this weekend; 

Since the inspiration for this swashbuckling righter of wrongs is one William Lamport of Wexford the festival will also be remembering him along with the country of Mexico, his adopted home, where he is still fondly remembered.

 

The hero’s name was William Lamport, later immortalised as Zorro. His story has been hidden for centuries in the Mexican Inquisition’s archives and rediscovered only in the last quarter of the last century. However, the few historians who were interested in him weren’t familiar with seventeenth-century Irish and European history and couldn’t verify his assertions or fully understand who he was.

 

William Lamport was born in Wexford town in either 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.

The “El regreso del Zorro” weekend will have exhibitions, readings, live Mariachi music, a Mexican-themed market, art, children’s events, a fun run and more.

An exhibition of images from the archives of Manuel Ramos, the 19th century Mexican photographer will be on display at D’Lush Cafe at Wexford Arts Centre and also at The Pig Yard Gallery. 

On Saturday May 5 The Bullring Market in the middle of Wexford will come to life with ‘El mercado de la Plaza de Toros’ for the day. Music, dancing, Mexican food, Zorro outfits, curios will transform the Market location.

The Little Artist Club at Wexford Arts Centre invite children to a music-making fiesta-style workshop celebrating Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican for the morning and in the afternoon the Discovery Club at Wexford Arts Centre host Viva La Vida! To celebrate cinco de Mayo this session looks at the work of Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most famous artists. 

On Saturday, May 5 Frantic Jack, the highly regarded acoustic rock outfit, and Mariachi San Patricio a fabulous 12-piece band playing different styles of Mexican folk music join the celebrations with an outdoor performance at The Centenary Stores on Charlotte Street, in Wexford town.

Closing the weekends Mexican activities “La Carrera del Zorro” – the inaugural 5 mile “Run of Zorro” starting at Raven Woods and finishing along the beach Starts 10.30am with No prizes, no chip timing … nada. Just a fun run in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

 

For more details on the festival see www.visitwexford.ie

 

ABOUT ZORRO

The hero’s name was William Lamport, later immortalised as Zorro. His story has been hidden for centuries in the Mexican Inquisition’s archives and rediscovered only in the last quarter of the last century. However, the few historians who were interested in him weren’t familiar with seventeenth-century Irish and European history and couldn’t verify his assertions or fully understand who he was.

 

William Lamport was born in Wexford town in either 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. The main branch of the family remained loyal to the crown of England, but circumstances forced some descendants of minor branches, in common with many Catholic Old English families, into rebellion against the English, such as William’s grandfather, Patrick. When, in the 1590s, Hugh O’Neill’s rebellion spread into Leinster, Patrick joined Viscount Mountgarret and was present at the battle of Kinsale.

    William Lamport was educated by the Augustinians and Franciscans in Wexford and by the Jesuits in Dublin. In 1628 he went to London to study, but was compelled to leave because of his political opinions; he fell in with a gang of pirates; jumped ship in 1630, and fled to La Coruña, Spain, where he resumed his studies at St Patrick’s College and hispanicised his name to ‘Guillén Lombardo’. He got a lucky break in 1632 when he was recommended by the Marquis of Mancera, governor of La Coruña, to the Duke of Olivares (1587-1645), chief minister of Philip IV (1621-1665), and was summoned to the court of Spain.

 

    Lamport, who had begun to acquire a reputation as a ladies’ man as well as a swordsman, in 1632-1633 studied both in S. Lorenzo (Escorial) and S. Isidro College (Madrid). As a captain in the Spanish army, he fought bravely at Nördlingen(1634) and Fuenterrabía (1638) against Swedish and French troops. Small and handsome, with red hair and flashing eyes, in 1634-1635 his portrait was painted both by Peter Paul Rubens (Timken Museum, San Diego, California) and Anton Van Dyck (Szépmüvészeti Museum, Budapest). Back in Madrid, in 1639 he supported Richard Nugent’s secret mission, to get money and soldiers for an Irish rebellion, an episode that, despite the documentary evidence in Simancas archive, is still little known by historians.

 

    In 1640, Olivares sent him to Mexico to spy on the new viceroy, the Marquis of Villena, suspected of sympathy towards Portugal’s rebellion. Spanish rule was being challenged in many places and Mexico, too, was on the brink of ruin. The Inquisition was all-powerful and omnipresent and the inquisitors, as well as public functionaries, were notorious thieves; the oppressed classes were full of anger and a desire for revenge; the Church was divided into reform and conservative parties. In Mexico City Lamport led a double life. Engaged to a rich heiress, Antonia Turcios, (despite leaving behind in Spain his mistress Ana Cano y Leiva and a daugther, Teresa) he moved in the highest social circles, all the time collecting evidence against Villena and transmitting it to Olivares and to Juan Palafox, new bishop of Puebla, head of the reform party.

 

About visitwexford

Tourist information for county Wexford in the Sunny Southeast of Ireland - for further details see www.visitwexford.ie
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4 Responses to Wexford Celebrates Roots of Zorro with Mexican Festival

  1. Great fun reading this missive.

  2. Emer Cliffore says:

    I would like to contact the organiser, how can I do so?

  3. wexlive says:

    ZorroFest 2013

    Programme

    11:00 Walking tour of 17th Century Wexford
    12:00 Bui Bolg Youth Group (Location to be Confirmed)
    13:00 Mariachi San Patricio & Folkloric Dancers (Selskar Square)
    14:00 Concert: Camilla Griehsel & Maurice Roycroft (aka Maurice Seezer) sing Hot Huapangos and Raunchy Rancheros (Greenacres Gallery)
    15:30 Tapestry Exhibition Opening
    16:00 Photography Exhibition Opening
    16:30 Book Presentation about William Lamport by Dra. Andrea Martínez Baracs (Wexford Arts Centre)
    18:00 Bui Bolg Parade
    20:00 Classical Spanish Guitar Concert with Angel (Wexford Arts Centre)

    There will be Spanish and Mexican-themed children’s workshops at Wexford Arts Centre throughout the morning.

    Fabulous Mexican food trail at participating restaurants: Greenacres Bistro, The Yard, La Dolce Vita, D’Lush Cafe, Cappucino’s, Cistín Eile, White’s Hotel.

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