Stone upon bone; The Archaeology and Folklore of Cillíní - Dr. Marion Dowd and Susan McKeown in conversation and song
Presented in association with Tommy Weir’s current exhibition Cillín
Dr Marion Dowd is an archaeologist and lecturer at IT Sligo. Her research focuses primarily on how people have engaged with caves in Ireland over the past 12,500 years. Her first book, The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland (2015, Oxbow), won the Current Archaeology Book of the Year 2016, and the Tratman Award 2015. Marion has also published on the interplay between folklore and archaeology.
Susan McKeown is a Grammy winning Irish vocalist, songwriter, producer and arranger. In a distinguished career, McKeown has performed with Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Linda Thompson, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie and The Klezmatics, with whom she won a Grammy Award performing lyrics by Woody Guthrie. She has recorded mariachi, klezmer and Amazigh music and has performed at Glastonbury, The Edinburgh Festival, Carnegie Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Susan was the 2018 Irish Central Anam Award recipient for “discovering and revealing the soul of Irish song” and the 2012 recipient of The Arts Council of Ireland’s Traditional Arts Bursary. Hers is the woman’s voice singing on the audio recording in the Irish apartment of New York’s Tenement Museum. A UCD English & Philosophy graduate, her post-graduate studies in culture as an economic driver at DCU Business School recently earned her First Class Honors. Susan is the founder and director of Cuala Foundation. www.cualafoundation.com
From the 7th Century, through the Middle Ages and continuing to the late 20th Century, unbaptised children were rarely buried in consecrated ground. Denied access to the graveyard, they were buried in cillíní instead. These remote places were aligned with boundaries in the landscape, on the edges of townlands, at the bottom of cliffs, along the coastline at the sea or the edges of lakes. The locations are thresholds themselves, perched between two different spaces, and evoke a sense of looking back in time. Indeed, they are often sited within prehistoric sites, within ancient stone circles or by standing stones. Sometimes they were in early medieval enclosures, cashels or ringforts that had fallen out of use. These unofficial graveyards form a part of the Irish landscape, numbering several thousand across Ireland.
Cillíní cover the countryside. The documented sites are numerous in certain counties, for example Galway has 476, but Sligo lists merely 22. A good deal are undocumented and are only known locally. Sligo has two additional cillíní, that are beyond the official register, near Rosses Point and beside Strandhill.
This event will be approximately 1 hour in duration.
Please be aware that from Monday 10th February there will be water main replacement works taking place in Carrick-on-Shannon, along St George’s Terrace, the approach to The Dock.
This may impact access to The Dock and on parking in the vicinity of the building. We would advise you to factor this possible delay into your journey time to The Dock.