Scéalta dar dTalún, Stories of Our Land
Jackie O Neill, Scéatla dar dTalún, Creative Ireland project lead artist has spent recent months gathering stories from Ballyhaise Agricultural College, researching the National Folklore Archive relating to St Mary’s National School Ballyhaise and seeking advice from historians.
Jackie O Neill is working with a team of artists to make new art works informed by and celebrating the land which will be launched on Saturday 19 August at Ballyhaise Agricultural College as part of Heritage Week. This initiative is specific to Ballyhaise and examines the stories that are accumulated and shared in the local community, in the archives and by historians. By remembering and re-interpretation through art; stories and histories bring learning, meaning and relevance to our present and future. When we understand and know a place it provides us with a very important part of our cultural experience. Anne Marie Ward, heritage officer says “this project speaks to the Community Development Pillar of Creative Ireland and the artists working with Ballyhaise Agricultural College and the local community through the children are awakening old stories for this and future generations.”
“The light below the lone bush” is a new song by Lisa O Neill, singer songwriter written for 3rd Class at St Mary’s National School and performed for them at a recent workshop. Lisa said after the workshop “I really enjoyed working with the children it was a privilege to share ideas with them”. Jackie O Neill and Ann Smith, storyteller also visited the school working with 1st, 2nd and 4th class. Jackie shared the stories she has gathered from the locality and the children illustrated them sharing techniques. She was assisted by Aideen Lynch, former education officer at The Ark. The children’s illustrations will be collated by Jackie and she will make a large print from them which will form part of the exhibition in August at the Agricultural College. Deirdre Sheridan, Principal at St Mary’s National School said “the children really enjoyed working with the artists on this project and they are looking forward to bringing their parents to the College”.
As part of the launch event on the 19 August, Ann Smith, storyteller will be on the Ladies Walk regaling families with stories she has collected. Over 25 years Ann has collected stories from all over the world and children and parents fall under the spell she weaves with her captivating performance. Artist collaborator Joe Doherty who has worked with Jackie O Neill on previous exhibitions and with the Gonzo Theatre is making wood sculptures from trees recently felled at the college. Joe like the other artists involved in the project is responding to the college environment, nature and the stories of the land that Jackie has gathered.
The project is part of Cavan County Council’s arts and heritage offices work developing cultural awareness as part of the culture team. The art created from the stories of Ballyhaise College and the land will be shared at Ballyhaise Agricultural College during Heritage Week and opening on Saturday 19 August.