Local Irish mythology used to boost tourism

Urban art makes age-old sagas and legends better accessible for storytellers and public.

Celebrations in Drogheda, where intangible heritage is promoted by impressive art murials. Image: Love Drogheda Twitter

Making intangible heritage available for everyone to enjoy can be difficult. But in the Irish town of Drogheda, everyone can now admire the mythological heritage of the place. In April, six murals about local mythology were unveiled. The plan is to make them part of an Urban Art Trail thorough the town, Irish news platform RTÉ wrote.

The Urban Art Trail is part of DRAWDA, a wider arts initiative, The Mayor reported. Apart from the murals, authorities plan to add an audio companion tour this summer. It was also announced that the programme will include works from 14 artists over the next three years. The Droichead Art Centre, Love Drogheda Bid (Business Improvement District) and the Louth County Council Arts Office are responsible for the project.

Reconnection

Étaín by Dutch artist Nina Valkhoff. Image: Love Drogheda Twitter

By creating the Urban Art Trail, the organisations hope many people who moved back to smaller towns during the COVID-19 pandemic, become more engaged and interested in local heritage. According to the organisers, since more people started working from home, they will want to reconnect with the town they live in. This, would create the opportunity to inject towns with a greater sense of self, mainly through culture, but also, by increasing the quality of stay.

“The aim of this project is to embrace Drogheda’s mythological past”, a press release reads. “Drogheda has been the home and landing point for voyagers into our lands from the Formorians, the Partholinians, the Nemedians, the Firbolgs, the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the Milesians. DRAWDA will explore the stories of some of the leading local mythological figures and reinvigorate them for the people of today.”

Mythical past

One of the paintings features the Dagda – portrayed as a father figure, king, and druid. The mural was done by the painter Russ from France. The Dagda is an important part of the Irish mythological cycle and he is associated with fertility, agriculture, manliness and strength, as well as magic, druidry and wisdom. He can also control life and death, the weather and crops, as well as time and the seasons.

Image: Droichead Arts Centre Twitter

Other works feature local legends such as The Morrigan, Goddess of War, by Northern Ireland artist Friz; Amergin, leader and bard of the people called Milesians, by French artist Aero; Etain, the heroine of Tochmarc Etaine, by Dutch artist Nina Valkhoff; Boann, Goddess of the Boyne, by Spanish artist Lula Goce and The Salmon of Knowledge and the story of Fionn MacCumhaill by local artist Ciaran Dunlevy. You can check out all the exhibits here.

Source: Droichead Arts Centre, RTÉ, The Mayor

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