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Hands Craft Festival

Hands Craft Festival

From Friday 24th May through to Monday 27th May 2019 An Creagán hosted a traditional crafts and lost skills Festival called 'Hands'. Inspired by one of the greatest and well known Irish TV documentaries 'Hands' our festival gave people the opportunity to learn Irish traditional crafts from master crafts people. These skills are seeing an upsurge in popularity due to modern technology as people are inspired to learn a lost tradition through social media. Photos of the event can be found here - Pictures


Crafts workshops included the following –

 Pit Firing Pottery -

An exciting opportunity to experience the ancient technique of firing pottery, Bronze Age style!

Participants were given 3 bowls to decorate with local clay slips and oxides, taking inspiration from Bronze Age rock art motifs, pottery and the beautiful bogland surrounding An Creagan.


Irish lace -

Rosie Finnegan-Bell has carried out extensive research about the rich tradition of lace-making in South Armagh and has a particular interest in telling the largely untold stories of the women of the locality who were involved in this cottage industry.


This was a one-day workshop for beginner students who learned more about the rich history and tradition of lace-making in the South Armagh area. They also learned the essential skills of Carrickmacross lace-making under the expert tutelage of the instructors;enabling them to complete their very own piece of lace to take home.


Dry-stone walling - Popular introductory course on dry stone walling. The course covers the basic skills of dry stone walling giving you a fascinating insight into an ancient art that fits seamlessly into the living landscape. Dry stone walls are made of stone and nothing else. Their strength is drawn from the stone itself and from the skill with which each stone wall is constructed. The traditional craft has helped to shape the character of the landscape of Ireland.

Traditional natural cordage workshop Simply put, cordage is thread, string or rope made from natural, foraged fibres. It's a beautiful, slow craft reconnecting you with nature. Each species has a unique method of harvesting, processing and using the fibres it boasts and it is this detail that makes natural cordage such a joy to learn and practice.

 Wild Fermentation Workshop -
Fermented foods are packed full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals and probiotics which have a myriad of health benefits. Participants learned how safe and easy it is to make your own fermented foods.


Foraging workshops - Follow the seasons on our foraging walk, to seek out fresh and tasty wild greens. Head out with us on foot to spot edible wild plants and learn the skills you need to harvest and prepare some delicious delights. This short course in foraging was a great way for you to gain confidence in identifying the edible, medicinal and poisonous species out there in the wild, and was the ideal introduction for all beginners to develop their interest and knowledge of foraging.


Herbalism Workshop - In this workshop, we took a hands on approach to herbs commonly found in the kitchen, the garden or the hedgerow and explored how we can use them for basic healthcare.


Alongside the taking part in workshops a Crafts in the courtyard event was held.

Inspired by the simple principle that people are fascinated when artists and craftsmen openly demonstrate their skills and discuss their work. Visitors can observe, buy and enjoy exhibitions and performances by local artists.