Irish Celtic Shoes
In an ongoing recovery of our forgotten Celtic history and culture / heritage Niamh and Con have visited four museums that are known to hold artifacts of our ancestor’s footwear. We started with the National Museum of Ireland in Kildare St Dublin, went to Armagh and Belfast Museums and most recently we were at the Museum of London Archaeology.
Having studied archaeology with NUIG I made the appropriate requests to access and photograph the artifacts in the 4 museums for research purposes. I signed the various forms and was given every support from the staff of all four museums. What has come out of this ‘hands-on’ research is absolutly amazing!
It will take a while to process my findings and present it all in a professional but accessible way as you can imagine. It is my intention to recreate actual complete pairs of each shoe variation of the Gaelic Slipper so that people can see, feel and get a real sense of the sophistication of the high status shoes our ancestors wore.
As Irish Celtic Shoes; we are rebirthing a Celtic Identity that is relevant to the modern day. By understanding the wealth, skills and crafts of our ancestors we can grow a new Celtic Nation together. Gaining exposure for these noble Irish Celtic Shoes is just one step in the reemergence of our modern Celtic identity. The little red shoe in the picture is my hand craftwork, I’m a modern Celtic Druid and a leather craftworker and teacher and also a member of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland. I have been specialising in researching and recrafting medieval Irish footwear for over 12 years facilitating at exhibitions in our National Museums, Heritage Centers, and at festivals and craft fairs all over Ireland. I have had a life long passion for our Celtic history, culture and heritage. I give an exciting slide show and lecture presentation on museum shoe artifacts supported by a selection of my own handmade copies. This use of ‘handling objects’ brings the idea of ancient shoes alive again as people get to feel, smell and look at copies of a long forgotten part of our heritage.
I will often say -
“Not only did the Irish wear shoes and Brehon Law frown upon our people going barefoot, but the high status shoes worn by nobility were astonishingly sophisticated and uniquely indigenous to Celtic Ireland.”
pic by Niamh
Friday and Saturday at the Mellows Campus in Athenry - an event focused on Irish culture and heritage from 1916... we were invited to share our Celtic Shoes from a thousand years ago. Two great days with good sunshine, happy children and inquisitive adults. This event was sponsored by the Taoiseach's office and had a wide range of interesting activities, crafts and even old steam engines! At our stall - many people learned for the first time that our ancestors wore shoes of exquisite complex designs as opposed to preferring to go barefoot... We were kept busy for both days with entertaining, explaining and allowing people to handle reconstruction copies of shoes from 1500 years ago. To see, feel touch and smell real leather shoes of a style worn by our ancestors was a delight to all.
Amazing Spirals in a Dog Daisy on my sunset walk. It's a ritual in my life to walk to the other side of our hill and watch the sunset. This time of year is extra special because as I walk I can keep Croagh Crom in my sites and know that in two weeks I'll be making my pilgrimage to the Stone Dragon.....read more here
An aerial picture of our temple and young native woodland – 10,000 trees in leaf transforming the black heavy ground into a wild forest again. Our research suggests that this townland area was only converted to agricultural land about 200 years ago so we are hopeful that the micro flora and fauna are still latent and will reappear more and more with each years leaf fall. Another 4-5000 broadleaf trees will be planted this autumn, a half acre pond will be built in the very middle of the tree farm and more footbridges are needed so that the pathways will all link up. Photo taken by Con at 60ft / 18m from over the main building during chimney cleaning.
Niamh and Con are founding members of Celtic Druid Temple and walk the path of Celtic Druids in Roscommon, Eire.