A Ballywire produced multimedia exhibition has opened in Sligo’s famous Hyde Bridge Gallery featuring original poetry, music and art.

Ath-Theacht Mhéibhe or The Return of Maeve walks you through some of the myths and legends associated with Ireland’s ancient warrior queen Maeve of Connacht.

Newly commissioned artwork illustrating the key moment in Ireland’s legendary story of the Brown Bull of Cooley and visualising beliefs that near Maeve’s Palace in Rathcroghan, County Roscommon, Ireland’s Gates of Hell were located are amongst the notable inclusions in the exhibition.

The statue of Sligo’s famous son WB Yeats opposite the Hyde Bridge Gallery and Yeats building celebrating his work in the town.

It also explores the value of a powerful female figure in the world of today. What has changed for women in 2000 years? What would Maeve make of it all? These themes are explored through a collection of original songs and poetry by women from modern Ireland. 

Through a mix of prints and video the exhibition wonders where Maeve has been all this time and ponders the treatment of women in Ireland and the world today. 

The exhibition which is free continues until the end of the month and features a projection room which shows the making of the illustrations, spectacular footage of county Sligo and the first public performance of the original music videos composed for the project.

Paul Collins Ballywire, Susan O’Keeffe Curator of Hyde Bridge Gallery Sligo, Audrey Marian Fay composer of two songs for the Maeve soundtrack, Karen McGarty of Kosmos Communications Sligo and Enda Duffy composer of original music for the project at the official opening of the multimedia experience in Sligo.

As well as excerpts from the graphic novel A Destiny Unfolds, which has been illustrated by Tipperary artist Jennifer Ryan Kelly, some of the world’s leading comic artists have been commissioned to provide their depictions of what Maeve might look like 117 years after the first colour depiction of Maeve was commissioned by then US President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Talented music and songwriting due Audrey Marian Fay and Enda Duffy have composed original music and songs for the concept. “The songs are like rallying cries for people to find their inner warrior and choose to move forward with their purpose’ says Ballywire CEO Paul Collins. ‘Increasingly in the world of today we get very little time to focus on ourselves so the notion that we take a time out and put on our armour to tackle life in the everyday battlefield is a theme of the original music brilliantly composed by Audrey and Enda.’

Warrior and My Time Is Now are both available on Spotify.

‘It’s incredible to showcase this project for the first time in such an historic building celebrating the memory of arguably one of the greatest poets of Ireland and the world. Yeats was a huge fan of the Celtic myths and was a central figure in reviving Irish culture and identity as we strove towards becoming an independent nation, so to see our project on the walls of this building is very humbling’ said Ballywire CEO and Maeve exhibition curator Paul Collins. ‘We are also looking at bringing the exhibition to other venues so watch this space’. he added.

A new interview series has also been announced. Produced by Ballywire, Maeve Beo – The Interviews will investigate whether the Maeve warrior spirit is in evidence in the world of today and will profile four people in the weeks ahead on the theme of Maeve’s mantra. ‘Question and Be Brave. Find Your Inner Warrior. Find Your Inner Maeve.’

The cover of the official programme for the Maeve Exhibition

Its been quite a week for the project in Sligo with the book A Destiny Unfolds also going on sale for the first time in Liber, the town’s leading independent bookshop. It’s also available online here.

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