The Battle of Westmeath is part of the ‘Threading the Táin’ tapestries

Trish Riding, Bridie Scally, Paula Sheridan, Margaret Cunnane, Brigid Mayes and Claire Delabre with the Threading the Táin tapestries in the background (and below)

‘Threading the Táin’, an inter-county community visual arts project, in which five tapestries were created to celebrate the Táin Bó Cúailnge includes Westmeath in its designs.

Alongside the launch of the Táin March Festival 2022, An Táin Arts Center coordinated the project, which was funded by Creative Ireland and produced by An Táin Arts Center in association with Creative Spark.

The tapestries depict scenes from the great epic which relate to each of the five counties associated with the Táin: Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Meath and Louth.

The Westmeath panel depicts a battle scene with Queen Maedbh and other characters from the epic tale.

Measuring 3m by 1m (like each of the five panels), it was designed by Claire Delabre of Handmade Design Studio on Mount Street, Mullingar, and she was assisted by needlewomen Margaret Cunnane, Bridie Scally, Brigid Mayes, Trish Riding and Paula Sheridan, all of whom volunteered their time to work on the piece.

“We all feel privileged to have been able to work on such an incredible art project and can’t wait to see the Westmeath Tapestry on display at Mullingar,” Claire said.

Melanie McQuade, Westmeath Heritage Manager, added: “I’ve seen the Westmeath sign – it’s a beautifully done textured and animated piece that really brings the epic story of the Táin Bó Cuailgne to life! It will be great to to see the five pieces together and for artists from each of the counties to see the work of their neighbors.”

A variety of textile techniques were used in the creation of the tapestries, including dyeing, painting, felting, appliqué, faux chenille, hand embroidery, quilting, and hand and machine sewing.

The project was led by Louth-based artist Sophie Coyle, who worked closely with archaeologist Paul Gosling and Mel O’Loan of the Táin March Festival to determine which parts of the epic to include in the tapestry.

The project was guided by a textile artist in each county who led community artisan groups in the creation of each panel.

The artists, with Claire Delabre in Westmeath, are Frances Crowe in Roscommon, Catherine Gray in Longford, Ina Olohan in Meath and Úna Curley in Louth.

Over 40 volunteers participated in the project, and when placed together, the five tapestries depict the overall story of the Táin, while each piece is an individual work of art.

The project is a development of the relationship between the An Táin Art Center and the Táin March Festival.

Mary Claire Cowley, of the An Táin Arts Center and Project Manager of ‘Threading the Táin’, said: “The project was inspired by the passion for Táin demonstrated by Paul Gosling and Mel O’Loan and the entire team at Táin March Festival It has been a wonderful opportunity for us as counties bound by the bonds of the Táin to come together in this historic and collaborative celebration of our identity and culture through craftsmanship and we are delighted to launch “Threading the Táín” in collaboration with the 2022 Táin March Festival.”

Starting June 10 in Cooley, this year’s festival will trace the route of the brown bull from Cooley to Connaught. Over three weekends the festival will visit key venues in Cooley, Dundalk, Ardee, Teltown, Kells, Mullingar and conclude in Roscommon Town on June 26.

‘Threading the Táin’ will be available as a five-piece artwork at An Táin Arts Centre, Crowe Street, Dundalk, until Saturday 11 June, coinciding with the start of the Táin March Festival.

The tapestry will then be displayed in Roscommon for the end of the festival on June 26.

Each piece will then be returned to its county for semi-permanent display.

For more information, contact Mary Claire Cowley at An Táin Arts Centre: [email protected]: 042 9332332.

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