‘The Waking of Brian Boru’ project launch


‘The Waking of Brian Boru’ is a community project which was launched last week to offer local people of all ages in Armagh an opportunity to reflect upon and engage with the one thousand year anniversary of Brian Boru’s death this year.

Initial discussions between creative practitioner Dr Sally Walmsley of SoundMór and local people raised questions as to why Brian Boru was even buried in Armagh, and so it was decided to hold an event to encourage people to think who Brian Boru was and why Armagh was so important to him. A series of music performance workshops will begin shortly in local institutions, all of which will contribute to the project through the active involvement and knowledge-sharing by representatives from Armagh County Museum, Armagh Observatory, Armagh Public Library and No 5.

The work will be carried out with two distinct groups, one made up of primary school pupils from the seven primary schools in Armagh, and the other of representatives from Armagh community groups, all of whom will come together to create a community inspired performance on the Hill of Armagh in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 May 2014. At that stage, two more schools, Lisanally Special School and St Catherine’s College, Armagh, will both play a role through the provision of music and drama.

Sally Walmsley, the project facilitator, said: “Brian Boru was buried in Armagh after a twelve-day wake and so the performance piece on the Hill of Armagh will be a reflective multi-media performance taking place one thousand years after his final arrival in Armagh for his wake and burial. The performance will involve some 250 residents of Armagh when the core group and local primary schools come together in a dramatic and musical depiction of ‘The Waking of Brian Boru’”.

Gregory Dunstan, the Dean of the Cathedral and Keeper of Armagh Public Library said, “Brian Boru’s wish to be buried on this Hill is testimony to Armagh’s pre-eminence as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, in its inheritance from St Patrick. ‘The Waking of Brian Boru’ is a major collaborative project, linking school and community groups from across the City. We are most grateful to Armagh City and District Council for their recognition and support of this event, as one of many to commemorate the death of the first High King of Ireland. We are delighted that the Lord Mayor was able to join us for the launch today.”

Further information may be sought from Armagh Public Library and any of the participating organisations.

Image credit: Ian Maginess

In the photograph: The Lord Mayor, The Very Revd Gregory Dunstan (Dean of Armagh and Keeper of Armagh Public Library), Professor Mark Bailey (Director of Armagh Observatory) Ms Libby Kearney (EU-UNAWE UK Project Manager, Armagh Observatory), Dr Greer Ramsey (Curator of Armagh County Museum), Ms Carol Conlin (Assistant Keeper, Armagh Public Library), Dr Stephen Day (Registry Officer, No 5 Vicars’ Hill), Dr Sally Walmsley (Project Facilitator), Staff and pupils from local schools: Armstrong Primary School, Christian Brothers’ Primary School, Lisanally Special School, Mt St Catherine’s Primary School, Royal School Preparatory Department, St Catherine’s College, St Malachy’s Primary School, St Patrick’s Primary School