Banshee: Storm

When I was little I often stayed with my grandparents in Dublin, and for years they schooled me in Irish myth and legend, and the folklore of this country. While my grandfather stuck to the more traditional, well known stories- the Children of Lir, the Salmon of Knowledge, my Granny would (and still does) tell me stories of her childhood in the Glencree.

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In the Wicklow Mountains, the fact that banshees, changelings and fairies existed was simply taken for granted.

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 When she was a child one of the neighbours’ golden haired babies was switched for a sullen, dark haired child. People who wandered into fairy rings disappeared. Hawthorn trees could not be chopped down, farmers simply worked around them.

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Her family had a banshee that would warn of any forthcoming deaths in the family. This was the story that stuck in my mind, and still scares me a wee bit til this very day. The banshee would appear to a member of the family the day before a death would occur.

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She was a beautiful woman. She had long, white hair that she would brush over and over again, wailing and crying, sitting on windowsill. My bed was beside the window. I lost count of the number of nights I went to sleep with my duvet over my head praying I wouldn’t hear the wails. This print is based on a drawing I produced for my ‘Love me to Death’ exhibition a few years back.

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The particular piece in pencil and chalk is a departure from my usual style, much looser and freer, and it felt right to incorporate it into the Éadach range. Its floaty, transparent feel lends itself perfectly to the idea of the Banshee. I combined it with greys and purple- colours of stormy skies and of mourning. It’s the hue the countryside takes on in autumn, at the death of summer.

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This print debuted at the Derry Fashion Fest, as the maiden city has it’s own famous banshee. And of course, my granny now wears her banshee scarf with pride.

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22 November 2014 – Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye Derry City Council’s Four Day fashion extravaganza, Fashion Fest 2014: Irish Design Catwalk Event at St Columbs Hall. Banshee print dress, a collaboration between Una Rodden and Sara O’Neill, part of our Éadach range based on Irish myths. Banshee tees by Sara O’Neill.

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Details: Ltd edition of 300, 100% silk with a handrolled edge, 130cm x 130cm, £180

Please note that due to the nature of silk and with the scarves being printed in small batches that colours can vary slightly, although we try our best to ensure continuity. Due to this and computer/ phone screen settings the colours can look a little different to above. If you require a specific colour or shade we would advise purchasing from one of our retailers so you can view the product in real life before purchase.

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