Singing the work away

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Fringe Workshops


29/07/2022 14:00 - 17:00



Facilitators: Karen Minihan and Kathy Kirwan

Women sang songs together while they carried out the work of processing the materials to make fabrics such as tweed and linen. Inspired by this communal singing and waulking*, we will gather in Myross Wood House – close to the site of an 18th century mill, in the heart of what was the West Cork linen industry at one time, where fields were planted with flax and mills abounded. We will share and embody stories of place and work, of old ways and songs and, together, we will work with linen and flax fibres and playfully create a new working song. 

We invite you to join us for a 3 hour workshop at CECAS, Myross Wood, Leap from 2 – 5pm on Friday, July 29th. Inspired by the Scottish tradition of Waulking the Tweed, this workshop has been specially curated for Skibbereen FeelGood Festival 2022 and is a work-in-progress, experimenting and exploring communal singing and the rich flax heritage of West Cork.

This will be a partly mobile, all-weather workshop so please wear sturdy footwear and dress for the day’s conditions. Rain gear/ sun cream/ headwear etc as appropriate. Please be prepared to be on the move, sing, laugh and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Myross Wood. Light refreshments will be provided.

This project is supported by Cork County Council and the Heritage Council under the County Heritage Plan Funding 2022.

*Waulking is a finishing process that is applied to woven wool tweed. Waulking songs (Scottish Gaelic: Òrain Luaidh) are Scottish folk songs, traditionally sung in the Gaelic language by women while waulking cloth. This practice involved a group of women rhythmically beating newly woven tweed or tartan cloth against a table or similar surface to lightly felt it and shrink it to better repel water. Simple, beat-driven songs were used to accompany the work.


Kathy Kirwan, Eco-artist, singer, and lover of textiles is delighted to be involved with Skibbereen FeelGood Festival. This exciting workshop connects with Kathy's current research, a Deep Maps West Cork Flax project – From Farm to Fabric. The project looks at our local Flax growing and Linen Production heritage to present-day practices and linen as a sustainable 21st century fabric.

Karen Minihan is a theatre-maker who lives and works in West Cork. She has been responsible for numerous community projects and theatre productions, especially as the Artistic Director of PlayActing Theatre. Karen likes nothing better than being involved in co-creation, sharing her interest in various practices with others. This project is very exciting to her for the combination of working songs and stories and bringing the experience into the body during the workshop.