For this year’s Culture Night, artist and folklorist Michael Fortune will present the findings of a new body of research conducted all over Co. Meath in April/May this year. The project was commissioned by the Arts Office of Meath County Council where they put out a public call looking for dressers and their stories and Michael travelled through roads and lanes visiting peoples homes and documenting the findings in homes, sheds and yards around the county.
A film featuring these stories will be officially launched on Culture Night via Michael’s page ‘folklore.ie’ on Facebook in conjunction with Meath County Council Arts Office and their page, while a series of pop-up banners featuring these photos and text on these dressers have been printed and will be available to view on the night across some libraries in Meath. A selection of the Meath dressers and their stores will also feature in this year’s “Irish Dresser and Folklore Calendar” which will be in stores and online in late October.
The Meath project unearthed some amazing stories and in particular a style of Connemara dresser which he discovered in Rathcairn belonging to Mairtín Ó Méalóid who was resettled in Co. Meath in the 1930s and 50s from Galway. Mairtín moved to Meath with his father in the 1950s and with them came the language, the accent, the mannerism, the skills, the songs, the dancing and in this case they also brought the Connemara dresser design in their heads. Mairtín’s father made eight dressers in his day, some are still in Connemara while most are found around this part of Meath. The tradition of making dressers as wedding present gifts runs really strong here too as his father made four dressers for his daughters when they got married while Mairtín made one for his own daughter too when she got married. This was traditionally done around the country and it is incredible to find this tradition still existing in Co. Meath. To hear more of these stories join us on Culture Night!