I M B O L C
FOLKLIFE – Imbolc directly referenced the Museum’s St Brigid’s Day collection, foregrounding women’s voices, in dance, song and choral arrangement, featuring members of Mayo’s Pipe Bands; artist and performer, Breda Mayock, with choir; Mags Duffy visual artist; Catherine Donnelly dance artist and musicians Freda Hatton, Julie Langan with singer Mags Gallen. The big sound of the Clew Bay Pipe Band led the audience in the tradition of the processional Biddy ending with an invitation to share, in the spirit of Brigid, hot drinks and traditional food items of potato cakes and soda bread, echoing the tradition of finishing the previous year’s crop of potatoes on Brigid’s Eve.
Brigid’s Blessings - Beannachtaí Bríde | Mags Duffy
‘Brigid’s Blessings – Beannachtaí Bríde’, a work in progress by visual artist Mags Duffy. Brigid’s Blessings is a combination of the traditional Rag or Wishing Tree and Brat Bríde, when a ribbon or piece of cloth was left outside the house to receive Brigid’s blessing on the eve of February 1st . Mag’s invited nursing homes and their carers and various communities from Mayo to contribute to this Wishing/Rag Tree. Participants were provided with pieces of cloth and invited to record on them the wishes they would like Brigid to grant them for the year ahead. This was done either in writing or by stitching or simply wishing over the ribbon. These were then attached to red ribbons/rags which were tied to a tree on the grounds of The National Museum of Ireland – Turlough Park. Guests on the day also had the opportunity to include their own wishes and intentions.
BEO | Breda Mayock
‘BEO’ is a new composition by singer Breda Mayock performed with choir leader and musician, Eriko Uehara Hopkinson and choir. The choir has come together especially for this occasion.
‘BEO’ draws inspiration from Ó Raiftearaí’s Cill Aodáin and the Irish Folklife Collection. It celebrates the coming of spring with its promise of growth and renewal. It also speaks of Imbolc, and Brigid, the embodiment of light and inspiration, and the guardian of the forge and fire. The choir has come together especially for this occasion.
In ‘BEO’ we walk in Winter’s mists above ground, while underneath all is alive and waking, unseen by the human eye. A humming foretells the arrival of Spring, Mother, Nadúr, and Brigid who brings the light. We sing the words in Irish and in English and use the ancient phrase Am Cain – I am beauty, from the Song of Amergin. This song is a prayer and an affirmation, rising into a celebration of nature, the Mother of us all and her many messengers – beo beo, alive alive, we are here, for nature weaves us all as one.
REACH | Catherine Donnelly
‘REACH’ by dance artist Catherine Donnelly with music by Breda Mayock performed by Julie Langan on fiddle is an embodied exploration and response to the inspirational and extraordinary life and work of Brigid – her character, reputation and legacy.
A Song at Imbolc | Freda Hatton, Julie Langan, Mags Gallen
‘A Song at Imbolc’ is a poem written by much-loved poet Moya Cannon. Musicians Freda Hatton (harp) and Julie Langan (fiddle) set this seasonal poem to music and the piece was given its debut by Mags Gallen. The poem was originally commissioned by Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture to mark the 1st day of spring 2020.