A Bird in the House God Bless Her

Ancient and Contemporary Folklore from Our Local Travelling Community

Michael Fortune has been a pioneer in the area of socially engaged work within Ireland over the past fifteen years and his practice has widened the conversations regarding the intersection of traditional and contemporary cultures.

His life, interests and practice are an intertwined and inseparable mix of the ancient, the contemporary, the private, the public and the intangible.

Back in November 2017, Michael began to explore a wealth of folklore, stories and contemporary rituals that connect us all, shared with him by a group of travellers from SouthSide Travellers Action Group based in Dún Laoghaire, using film, photography and media to capture findings.

Michael has strived to create a body of material that would be a living resource to be shared and watched by the travelling community themselves; material that immediately has currency and value for those who feature in it and those who can relate to it.

The collection features material which has never before been recorded on film, stories which have been resigned to past memory and the texts of many folklore collectors.

When working on the project Michael’s aim was to not to collect in the classic sense of a collector, who collects for academic research or archiving, but instead to capture these stories and beliefs in as true a voice as possible which he gently reworked and handed back to the local community, celebrating the richness which is on our doorsteps.

“A Bird in the House, God Bless Her is a rare insight into the world of the people recorded where folklore is not a voiceless story on paper recorded for nostalgia but instead something which is alive, to be celebrated, reflected upon and enjoyed.” – Michael Fortune

The stories shared range from rare Easter and May Day customs, personal stories involving fairies, the banshee and shape-shifting hares to more contemporary customs such as blessing cars and acronyms used on Facebook.

We are delighted to have some of Michael’s work features on RTÉ Culture.

Click here to read the full article.

Launched  on Wednesday the 7th of March at the Samuel Beckett Civic Centre in Ballyogan.

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