What is ÉIRÍ?
ÉIRÍ (standing for Évoking Ireland’s Resilient female Ícons) has been an international arts competition in parallel with a participatory research project aimed to re-ignite awareness of inspirational female figures from Irish mythology and folklore who have all too often been forgotten, suppressed, or overwritten in the mists of time. Members of the public were invited to submit original art in any form, inspired by any female figure from Ireland’s mythology or folklore. The hope was, and continurs to be, that this project may lead to better representation of women in Ireland’s national iconography and identity documentation.
Now this competition is complete, it is expected that ÉIRÍ will continue as a group, seeking to widen and broaden its interests in the Irish stories with all their undoubted and relevant significance in so many areas.
Who are ÉIRÍ?
Professor Ralph Kenna, co-director of L4, an international collaboration of four universities including Coventry’s Fluid and Complex systems Research Centre
Professor Ralph Kenna founder of the group has been a keen listener to the Story Archaeology podcasts. He used to listen, he tells me, when he was out running. Back in early 2020, he got in touch with me to share a really good idea. He had been somewhat annoyed when his home town of Athlone planned to erect a statue to celebrate the Shannon and selected a male image based on the Dublin Custom house neo-classical river god. He was not impresses! What followed was the ‘Arts for Sinann’ competition and later ,the much larger ÉIRÍ arts competition and research project.
Of course, these competitions represent only a small part of his astonishing work combining network mathematics and world mythology.
- Listen to a conversation with Ralph Kenna and a second conversation on the ÉIRÍ project.
- Read Ralph’s article on Myths Meets Maths, for the Irish Post
- Watch a short talk Ralph gave in Athlone around three years ago
- Read the important paper Myths and Maths that really got things going! I have also included an article on the paper. It explains the methodology much better than I can.
- Read the paper Network analysis of the Kyiv bylyny cycle east Slavic epic narratives or read the Story Archaeology post on this paper.
- Fráoch – the “most handsome warrior” in Ireland. A Tale of Two Halves written with Daniel Curley and Mike Mcarthy. Find out more from the Story Archaeology article.
Daniel Curley and the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre
Daniel Curley is an archaeologist and historian who is also the manager of the wonderful Rathcroghan Visitor Centre. and has been an active participant in the Arts For Sinann and EIRI project from its commemcement. We have worked together on many occasions, especially the Tain March Roscommon Schools projects which took place over several years.
- Listen to the Stories in the Landscape conversation with Daniel.
- I hope to share another shortly. This one will give us a chance to talk about the Táin Bó Fraích – the Raid of Fráoch’s cattle and the paper Daniel and Mike wrote with Ralph.
- Find out more about Rathcroghan
Celtic Eye joined the group more recently, after the Arts for Sinann project had been completed. However as an arts group, they are enthusiastic promoters and supporters of ÉIRÍ. Celtic Eye have an inspiring history of their own. They came together as a self supporing group of artists in the South Roscommon area but rapidly became fully and edffectively engaged in some innovative and ongoing projects. The Karst Landscape project, in which they use their various artistic talents in conjunction with South Roscommon Farmers to preserve and celebrate a unique landscape is outstanding. I also love the simple seffectiveness of their Strive4live project which was so effectively designed to engage people during lengthy pndemic lockdowns
- Find out about the group. Introducing Celtic Eye
- Find out more about the Karst landscape project.
- Listen to the Stories in the Landscape conversation with Nicola Bowes and Rosemary Carty
- View some of Celtic Eye’s recent and up-coming events
The Irish Post
The Irish Post has been an highly active participant and enthusiastic on-going supporter of both projects, Arts for Sinann and ÉIRÍ . As well as acting as the fund holders, Mal Rogers has given us interesting and regular coverage. It is thanks to the paper that promotion has been so successful. A large number odf articles published in the Irish Post can be viewed on Story Archaeology
- Take a look at a variety of articles published in support of ÉIRÍ .
- Or take a look at the Irish Post
Story Archaeology will continue to promote and nework helping to broaden the focus of the group as we go forward.
What will ÉIRÍ do next?
What we have all in common is our love of mythology and the early Irish stories in particular. But there is more to it. We all feel that the stories have more to offer than just entertainment, although they certainly offer that. The stories were originally intended to communicate cultural information in their telling and they do still carry messages and information that is relevent today.
Ralph’s mathematical work has demonstrated evidence that positive agency by women is more apparent in the early Irish stories than found in many other myth cycles. There were women poets, craftsmen, hunters, warriors and leaders. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all sweetness and light and being a high status woman certainly helped! However, the women were no mere background decoration.
Deeper research into the early Irish stories, as curated in their earliest forms, also demonstrates that they were intended to pass on equally important environmental messages as well. Both the Táin Bó Cúailnge and Cath Maige Tuired, for a start .include themes warning that if the struggle for personal power displaced regard for the environment and ‘natural law’ then the land would rapidly become a wasteland. We are looking forward the next exciting steps ÉIRÍ, which in early Irish meant ‘rise up’ , or ‘get up’ , is going to do just that. From out of this event has come a group of us who all believe that early Irish stories still contain ideas that are worth working with and there is much to do . So it is about time that we ‘rise up’, and be counted
Latest ÉIRÍ News
- Read about the new ÉIRÍ paper: The Extrodinary Story of Sinann. It is avaialable as a pre-print, as yet, awaiting peer review but take a look.
- Find out about the International Comparative Mythology Conference which took place at Rathcroghan in August.23.
- Explore recent and upcoming Celtic Eye events and exhibitions