Visitors will get the chance to learn basket-weaving, stone wall building, fermentation, foraging and lots more
In our always-on, instant-gratification, “next-day-delivery” society, it’s no wonder that we’ve become accustomed to having things how we want them, when we want them.
But if we go back as little as sixty years ago, things were very different.
Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had to rely on creative skills to make things that younger generations take for granted – skills that most of us would be hard pressed to even attempt.
Many of these valuable traditional skills, practices and methods have fallen into decline due to the rise of mass production and global trade. And yet, for a sustainable future, there are lessons for us all in the ways things were done in the past – especially in the areas of building, food, culture and land.
As part of Heritage Week 2023, the team at non-profit social enterprise Common Knowledge is hosting a free Open Day (12 August) and 4-day course entitled The School of Lost Skills (13-16 August) in The Burren, Co Clare, to learn more about these skills and how to incorporate them into our everyday lives.
The School of Lost Skills is a new way for people to celebrate and practice these skills together in a deeper way so that they can engage people beyond generational boundaries.
What to expect at the Open Day
The day will start with a talk hosted by Anja Murray with guests Darina Allen, Manchán Magan, Mary Reynolds and Harrison Gardner discussing the danger of losing our ancestral skills and knowledge in these areas. The discussion, hosted in Octagon Hall, will ask what we can do to change the tides on lost skills.
This will be followed by interactive skill-sharing workshops throughout the courtyard including cob-making, weaving, fermentation and an Ark workshop with Mary Reynolds. The event will be livestreamed for anyone who cannot attend and you can find more information here.
What to expect from the course (12 – 16 August €680):
The School of Lost Skills 4-day course will be a chance to practice a range of skills like basket-weaving, stone wall building, fermentation, foraging and more with expert instructors from all over Ireland. As well as that, breakfast and lunch will be provided each day.
Participants will gain an introduction and training in:
- Stone-carving and stone wall making with Dominic Keogh
- Soap-making with Clem Horan
- The art of fermentation with Llewyn Máire
- Cob construction with Alexander O’Brien
- Vernacular architecture with Hugh Kavanagh
- Willow basket making with Kate Burrows
- Storytelling workshop with Aindrias De Stack
- Seed-saving and foraging with Ciara Parsons
- Scything and grassland management with Chris Hayes
Click here for more details on the course and to book tickets.
The course hopes to build on the interest in Rekindle – an intergenerational festival of lost skills celebrating sustainability and showcasing the knowledge of older people in our communities. The inaugural festival last year saw more than 500 people meet 18 exhibitors who showcased skills ranging from pen-making and Aran-knitting to rope-making, boat-building and basket-making. It also included a farrier who brought his anvil to display blacksmithing skills.
However, if the dates for the lost skills course don’t suit you, don’t despair as August is officially Craft Month! From traditional pottery markets and open studios, to contemporary, immersive crafts, the vibrant local craft scene right across the island of Ireland will be on full display. The initiative provides unique opportunities for people to get involved as well as supporting makers by buying products and learning more about their work.
Led by the Design and Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) in partnership with Craft NI and Cork Craft and Design, the month-long celebration, now in its second year, will once again be part of an island-wide summer programme.