Mantles (Arlen House: Dublin, 2021)

“Beautifully written and with mindful, suggestive images, the book is a rich meditation on folklore, tradition and contemporary experience.” – Lia Mills, author of Another Alice.
“I especially like the questioning throughout, a real change from dogmatism, very much in the spirit of Brigit (and the Cailleach). This book will inspire many others to search out and walk in Brigit’s footsteps.” ‒ Mary Condren, Th.D. author of The Serpent and the Goddess, and National Director, Woman Spirit Ireland.

This collaboration between writer Shauna Gilligan and artist Margo McNulty explored the themes of heritage and sense of place symbolising Brigid. Through archival artefacts and site visits it aimed to create through words and images new representations of Brigid as an archetype of the sacred feminine.

Mantles: Book

Mantles: Encountering Brigid (Arlen House, 2021) is a series of essays, fiction, photographs and photo etchings which re-imagines new representations of Brigid as an archetype of the sacred feminine through engagement with artifacts and site visits. Described as “a rich meditation on folklore, tradition and contemporary experience”, Mantles also invites the reader to consider a series of mindful, evocative images.  

PURCHASE from Maynooth Bookshop, from the Book Depository

1st Feb 2022: Meath County Executive Librarian Mary Murphy chats to Shauna about Mantles (YouTube Video 20:13 mins)

Webinar – Kildare Readers Festival, October 2021

On Tuesday October 5th at 2pm, Margo and Shauna talked with Clodagh Doyle (Keeper, Irish Folklife Division, National Museum of Ireland), about their extensive research including the use of public archives and artefacts, and their image and word making. Margo discussed some of her images in detail and Shauna gave two short readings from her writing.

Pictured seated on stage at The Riverbank recording the Webinar, L to R Margo McNulty, Clodagh Doyle and Shauna Gilligan (Photograph: Kildare Readers Festival, used with thanks)

Mantles: Workshops – Kildare Readers Festival, October 2021

Shauna and Margo ran two workshops as part of Kildare Readers Festival in October 2021:

  1. Brigid and Place: This interactive and participatory workshop invited adults in the community to engage in an exploration of Brigid through the theme of place using written and visual forms.
  2. Brigid and The Sacred Feminine: This workshop included guided and prompted oral and visual storytelling. Particular focus was on relationship of the heritage of Brigid and the sacred feminine.

Mantles: Readings

Samhain @ Sult, Wednesday 24th November @ 7pm 

As Samhain drew to a close, SULT Artists Collective welcomed friends and fellow artists  – musicians, writers, visual artists and poets – to celebrate Arts in Co. Kildare. Shauna Gilligan read from Mantles, James Blennerhasset, a  musician, composer and writer from Kildare, provided music. Art was by SULT artists.

Image of Shauna Gilligan reading from Mantles, she is standing behind a bog oak sculpture by Brian O’Loughlin and to her right musician James Blennerhasset sits listening. (Photograph: Shauna Gilligan)

Mantles: Research

Extensive research was carried out in the National Library of Ireland. Artefact research was carried out with kind permission and generosity of the Redemptoristine Nuns (Saint Alphonsus’ Monastery in Dublin). See Creative Ireland for more details of this project.

Image of the exterior of the National Library of Ireland with pillars decorated with the worlds Read, Learn, Relax (Photograph, Shauna Gilligan)

Mantles Funders

Govt of Ireland

Creative Ireland

Kildare County Council

Roscommon County Council