‘ÉIRÍ’ Évoking Ireland’s Resilient female Ícons
Myths meets Maths meets Gender
Socio-Physicist and comparative mythologist, Professor Ralph Kenna releases news of a new arts competition and participatory research project,
Ongoing from May 1st, (Bealtaine) to October 31st (Samhain) 2022
Both aspects of the project are open to everybody, anywhere, inspired by local folklore, or the magnificent female characters , prominent throughout the old Irish Stories.
If you have listened to any of the espisode ‘A Conversation with Professor Ralph Kenna’ then you will have heard the story of how he came to set up the Arts for Sinann competiiton which ran from November 2020 until Feburary 21. It began when his home town of Athlone decided to set up a public art work to celebrate its place on the Shannon. However. instead of celebrating the eponymous Sinann, they voted for, says Ralph, ‘a Neptune lookalike’, based on the Dublin Custom house river-god sculpture.
After the success of the Arts for Sinann project, Ralph got to thinking about the way that the stories of women were so generally under- represented. in public art and elsewhere. Through his mathematical published papers ,studying the networks of mythological epic narratives he was well aware that there were strong and positive characters in Irish mythology and folklore. So, the Myths-Meets-Maths-Meets-Gender project was created. It is well funded offering €10,000 in prizes including up to €3,000 for schools
So, how can you get involved?
Submit an piece of artwork. It can be any form of visual, musical, or literary art. You can also include spoken poems and stories, submitted as audio files, if you like. Please submit text files or good photos of art work (no more than 5MB in size please to
To get you started, explore the richly woven treasures of female characters from the old Irish stories and see where they take you. Discover how they resonate with you and repond creatively in any format. I have created a ‘starter’ resource of mythologocal female Irish characters to get you thinking.
How can you submit entries?
Submissions can take the form of text or photographs of art, no more han 5MB in size, please, sent by email, to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. These should be accompanied by a description of how the art relates to Irish mythology or folklore.
Submit your own participatory research .
- Research the Irish stories for yourself.
- Explore your local history and folklore,.
- You may know of other women whose stories show the resilience of Medb, the eloquence of Emer , the nourishing hope of Sinann or the competent skillls of Scathach. Add your input to some exciting research with Ralph and his team.
Special Note for Schools
Update: The closing date for school entries has been postponed until the 21st December 22.
Special note for Schools: Anyone from a school at primary or secondary level is free to submit indivdual work. Howerver prizes will be awardred to their schools. This makes the competition is ideal for a class based project. Teacher and educational project designer Chris Thompson, from Story Archaeology, will be providing a wide range of interactive support materials
Follow this link to the ‘Myths-Maths-Gender’ School support Page to download the free interactive presentation, designed especially for class teachers.
So, how do you get started
Well, first, read Professor Ralph Kenna’s full description of the project.
Explore your nearest library ‘local history portal’ for pictures, maps , documents and more .
In the Republic of Ireland, explore the Schools’ Folklore Collection for your County.
This incredible collection is based on a primary schools’ survey undertaken in the 1930’s. School children were asked to collect stories on a wide variety of topic from parents, grandparents and neighbours. It is one of the most important treasures of Isrish social history and well worth exploring. You never know what you might find there.