A special event is being held in north Galway this evening, to mark the 50th anniversary of the filming of the epic Alfred the Great.

The project brought huge investment to the area during the summer of 1968 and involved thousands of locals who were recruited as extras in the movie.

Made by the MGM studio, the film tells the story of the battle of Ashdown in 871 and the efforts to keep Danish invaders away from Wessex.

Starring David Hemmings in the lead role, the production also gave Ian McKellen and Sinead Cussack their big screen debuts.

The film was shot entirely in Co Galway and brought significant economic benefits to the region.

A multi-million dollar budget saw around 2,000 locals working as extras, with craftsmen, traders and hospitality providers also getting a cut of the Hollywood buck.

The location was chosen for its supposed similarity to Wessex in 871.

But if you have not ever heard of Alfred the Great, you are not alone.

The film bombed at the box office and survives only on hard-to-find DVD.

But that has not diminished the impact felt in Co Galway, 50 years later. 

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out for a special screening of the epic film tonight.