They Gathered Rushes: Screening, Discussion & Mingle

Thu, December 21, 2023

18:00 - 19:30

Kilbeggan Library, Kilbeggan Civic Centre, The Square, Kilbeggan, Westmeath


“She gathered rushes in the bog and peeled them and kept the soft part. Then she got some sheep’s suet and melted it in a metal burner, and she put the rushes into it. After a while she put them in a cool place to stiffen, and then they were ready for use”. Dúchas, The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0734, Page 411


Since 2012, the Dúchas archives project has been digitalising and indexing the Schools’ Collection – a collection of folklore and memories of how people lived in Ireland in the 1930s. Compiled by teachers, who recorded in handwritten journals pupils accounts, topics covered included supernatural lore, hidden treasures, diseases, cures and herbs, local crafts and customs, famous local people, information regarding holy wells, fairy forts, local fairs, and games children played. Running from 1987-39, over 50,000 schoolchildren took part. During the first phase of our work in Westmeath, the archives provided a rich reference point, as they provided further illustration of how people’s mending and making was deeply tied to natural and locally sourced materials.

Returning to the archives and specifically to accounts relating to Westmeath the focus of this new work, looks the domestic, kitchen economics of female makers and menders.

Focusing on accounts relating specifically to candle making, the intention of this new work, is to gleam what is possible from the recipes and accounts recorded, so as to reverse engineer the techniques shared and connect, not only how the candles were made but to the wider entanglements they produced.

Honouring the seasonal flavours that have emerged from this work, outcomes of this research, will form the bases of a new video and print based works, which will be exhibited at Kilbeggan Library on the evening of the 21st, Dec from 18.00.

18.00: Opening Welcome and Refreshments
18.30: Welcome and Introduction
18.45: Video Screening & Discussion, followed by music and mingling
19.30: Close

The event and workshops is free but booking is required as space is limited. Reserve your place here.

Prints and video: Teresa Dillon. Camera and editing: Matt Boyd: Music: Kelly Wyse. DJ: DreamHard. Special thanks too: Ben Goodman, UWE and Westmeath County Arts Office, Miriam Mulrennan, Elizabeth Kerrigan and Kim Magee.

Funded by: Creative Ireland Grant Scheme 2023 and Westmeath County Council