Thursday, 16 February 2017

The King at the Back of the Hill

 Saturday 11th March at 5.00pm

Join us for a tea-time talk including lecture by archaeologist Adel Coleman on The Excavations at the Back of the Hill to celebrate the latest addition to the heritage exhibition. We will also be launching our new workshops and our open call for the next Anthology of Art and Literature inspired by The King at the Back of the Hill. Light refreshments will be provided.
0863027602 or 0872326553,

Engineer's Week

6th to 10th March: Engineer's Week
Two sessions a day available to schools or other groups, Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 12.00 pm and 12.30pm to 2.00pm.
Come along and meet an engineer or two from our panel which includes civil, electronic and software engineers. Be inspired by what they do and some engineering feats of the past and design and make your vision for the future in a construction workshop.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Craft Fair - call out for stalls

It is nearly time for our annual Craft Fair and Leprechaun and Fairy Hunt. If you are interested in having a table at the fair the cost is €20 per table, pay on the day. Spaces are limited so booking is essential.
We will provide free tea/coffee to all who have a table at the fair. The fair will be on from 12pm to 5pm and the Leprechaun and Fairy Hunt will be on from 3pm to 5pm, on Saturday 18th March 2017.
This year Creative Ardagh are celebrating "A year with the Fairies" so we would also like to offer spaces to anyone interested in giving workshops that are of a craft, artistic, magical or mythical nature during the event.
As always, we are looking for more art and craft to sell in our shop, particularly those that suit the theme of Irish Myths and Magic but as long as you're local and they are handcrafted we are interested.
Feel free to spread the word!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

St. Brigid's Day

Annette talking about St. Brigid on the Joe Finnegan Show on Shannonside radio.
We had a lovely St. Brigid's Day! Annette got to talk to Joe Finnegan on Shannonside about St. Brigid and making crosses and Ann joined the locals on the Annual Walk to the Well. Thank you to Martin O'Connor for having tea ready for all of us when we got back to Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre and everyone who joined us. Ooh and I nearly forgot, Ann got a little article in the Leader too (read it below or here) ! Let's do this,and the workshop of course, again next year!!!

Exploring St. Brigid and her links with Longford
Here we are at another 1st February, St. Brigid’s Day, the festival of Imbolc, the beginning of Spring. It sprung into my mind that while St. Brigid is famously connected to Kildare, that we should explore her links with Longford as she continue to be acknowledged locally by all the churches, schools and clubs that are named after the Patroness of Ireland and by the traditions that are alive in the area.

Who is Brigid?
The St. Brigid everyone knows about is the St. Brigid we learned about at school, a slave by birth, born  circa 453, in Faughart. Her mother was a Christian woman, Brocessa, slave to a chieftain Dubthach. She was kind and generous and has many miracles to her name, the most famous being that of the original St. Brigid’s Cross and the one about her cloak covering enough area to claim as a convent in Kildare.  

Long before Christianity there was another Brigit. In Irish Mythology, Brigit was the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha De Danann, wife of Bres of the Fomorians. She is often seen as a threefold goddess over healing, poetry and smithcraft. (Lebor Gabála Érenn). Many of the stories of the mythological Brigit and the Christian St. Brigid have similarities, the Brigit’s doll became the St. Brigid’s Cross, the Brigit’s mantle became St. Brigid’s Cloak and many of the miracles performed by St. Brigid mirror the powers of the ancient goddess.

What are St. Brigid’s connections to Longford?
The first connection of Brigit to Longford, and not a widely known connection, is Brigit was daughter of the Dagda and so therefore must have been half sister to Midir, son of the Dagda, Midir of the local legend of The wooing of Étáin, Midir of Brí Leith, Ardagh and The Bog Road in Corlea, Kenagh. There must be many stories to be uncovered about this half sister and half brother and hopefully by this time next year we will know more. It is interesting, given our history of poets and writers in Longford, that Brigit is the goddess of the poet.

St. Brigid has strong connections to the county too. By many accounts she came to Ardagh and received the veil at the hands of St. Mel. In some writings she is said to have been professed as a nun, in others she was professed as a nun and also received abbatial powers and in others, my favourite, she was ‘accidentally’ ordained a Bishop by St. Mel.

While it is widely accepted that St. Brigid established her first convent in Kildare there are a number of writings that say otherwise and that her first convent was in Ardagh, Clonbroney or Ballinalee.

The Duchas schools' collection have many stories about St. Brigid in Longford. One story (click here) in the Duchas collection talks of her first convent being on the north side of Sliabh Galry, another name for Ardagh Hill and another says that St. Brigid carried coals two miles and her Holy Well in Ardagh sprung up where she dropped them. Another states carrying the hot coals was a penance given to a local woman for disrespecting St. Brigid.

However tentative or true the connections to Longford are we do know that there is a St. Brigid’s Well in Ardagh that is visited every 1st February by the locals, that there are many schools, churches and clubs called after St. Brigid throughout the county and that the tradition of making the St. Brigid’s Day Cross continues locally.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Announcing a year with the fairies in Creative Ardagh

100 years ago two English girls took pictures of fairies at the end of their garden. The Cottingley fairy photos sparked the imagination of millions of people from that day to this. For the remainder of 2017 Creative Ardagh will be celebrating this centenary. We have secret plans involving fairies of all sorts (especially of local ones). A number of themed events will be happening throughout the year. We have already delved into the Sidhe (Irish fairies) origins of St. Brigid and will be chasing down some leprechauns and fairies on March 18th, scary fairies might make an appearance around Halloween and we hope to add to our fairy trail during the year. We may even have some Midsummer fairy folk revealing themselves in June. Full details of our events calendar will be available soon. Watch out for this logo:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Lots of fun at St Brigid's Cross workshop

We had a lovely afternoon with a mix of old and young participating in our annual St. Brigid's Cross workshop on Saturday. Many a tale was told of Brigid the Goddess, half-sister of our Midir and Brigid the saint who reputedly walked two miles with hot coals dropping them in a field near the village where they instantly turned into a holy well. We will share more information here about her local connections soon. In the meantime listen out for us on the Joe Finnegan show on Wednesday morning. The local tradition of visiting the well after Mass on St. Brigid's Day, 1st February still continues, why not drop into us afterwards for tea?

Friday, 13 January 2017

St. Brigid's Cross workshop

St. Brigid's Day is by tradition on the 1st February, also known as Imbolc. Come along to our workshop on Saturday 28th to prepare. €5 per person. Tea/Coffee provided.
Brigid had strong connections with Ardagh as is evident in the naming of the local Catholic Church and the Holy Well in the locality. She is reputed to have been ordained a bishop by St. Mel in Ardagh and to have established her first convent in the area. We will have a brief discussion on her local connections and her story, links to celtic traditions and get our participants to try their hands at making a St. Brigid's Cross to bring home.
(This workshop can also be adapted for schools/groups at our usual group rates)