Friday 25 October 2019

Ardagh Fright Fest 2019

Here's a snippet from the TY visits during the week. Thanks to Nathan Sheridan for this video and to Shelley Corcoran and Longford Arts Office for arranging it.

Restoring the Balance is the theme of Ardagh Fright Fest 2019. This year the popular TY photography exhibition returned and almost 200 students joined us during the week to view the exhibition, hear stories from Scéalta Beo and take part in a clay workshop. Brendan Farrell started off the other events with an informative look at Winter Gardening. Tonight (25/10/19) we are joined by Karina Tynan who will explore the legend of Midir and Etain from Fuamnach's perspective and tomorrow (Saturday 26th) she will join Ruth Long and Scéalta Beo on an author panel looking at the relevance of Irish Mythology to the world today. Ruth continues this theme with a workshop for teens and adults delving into how ancient myth can be used in modern fiction. Family event Ardagh School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Year 9 brings Ardagh Fright Fest 2019 to a close on Sunday and Monday at 12pm. See for more details.

Thursday 26 September 2019

Maths Week workshops

We are delighted to be hosting workshops for Maths Week again this year. Our Weights and Balance workshop will be available for schools and other groups from Monday 14th to Friday 18th October.
This will include a number of practical, interactive maths activities as well as a look at historic scales and weights. It is suitable for all ages. Call us on 0863027602 or 0861717925 or email to book your group. The workshop lasts for 1.5 hours and costs €5 per person.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Watch out for full details of Ardagh Fright Fest coming soon.

Ardagh Fright Fest returns at the end of October with a full line up of Spooktacular events as usual. Ardagh School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will return for Year 9 along with the popular TY photography exhibition. Watch out for full details of all events soon, but for now here are some photos from other years.

Saturday 6 July 2019

The signs have arrived, are they at the right trees?

Lots of you have noticed that the Ardagh Tree Fairy signs have arrived in the Neighbourhood Park and on the Brí Leith Walk in the last few weeks. Well done to those of you who already let us know that some of the signs on the hill are not at the right tree. This is not a mistake. The Tree Fairies want us all to slow down and really look at and appreciate the nature around us. One way we can do this is to look closely at the trees and plants on the walk. See what insects you can spot, watch the bramble flowers transform into green, red then blackberries, note what is in flower when, and maybe take time to sit and draw some of the views. The Tree Fairies would love to see your art.

These photos show a tiny selection of the ever changing nature on Brí Leith
Did you see the tadpoles? Has anyone noticed any frogs yet?
If you have any photos of the flowers, plants, trees, bees, birds, frogs or anything else you have spotted on the walk send them to us at and we will share them here.

If you want to play "Is this my tree?" with the Ardagh Tree Fairies on your next ramble up Brí Leith download the file below and you can let us know if any of them are actually beside their tree. The Ardagh Tree Fairies are tricky little beings, they often move from where they last were when least expected, so keep an eye out every time to see if they stay put.

Right-click to save image and print your own copy.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Full day workshop with Lora O'Brien on 1st June

All Day Workshop Event with native Irish Draoí, Lora O'Brien, in County Longford on Saturday 1st June 2019. Take your Irish Paganism Step by Step; covering the main topics you need to get started.

Based on the most commonly asked questions from her extensive communities and groups (both online and in person), Lora O'Brien - who has been a practicing Irish Pagan for over 20 years, studying and working professionally within her native tradition for most of that time - goes through the basics that you'll need to get started with a genuine, authentic approach to Irish Paganism.
{PLEASE NOTE: This is info and booking for the Live In-Person All Day Workshop Event. For the online version of this course, see here -}

In this One Day In-Person Workshop, the steps you'll go through are:
-- Spirituality and Magic
-- Source Material and Resources
-- Ancestors and Culture
-- Local Sites and Protocol
-- Native Plants and Animals
-- Divination and Magic Methods
-- The Irish Sidhe
-- The Irish Gods
-- Daily/Seasonal Offerings and Practice
-- Otherworld Journeys
-- PLUS -- a unique Guided Journey for your Daily Practice.

Whether you are just beginning on this path, or a seasoned traveller from another tradition, you'll find new or remembered knowledge when you get back to basics with our 10 Steps to Irish Paganism.
BONUS: All In-Person Attendees will get FREE access afterwards to the Online Course version of this workshop at (value, €75).

Saturday 1st June - 11am to 6pm
Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ardagh, County. Longford, Ireland.

Again, this is available for a limited number of Students Only - Please Book Early. [Online Bookings will secure first places.]  Price is €80, monthly payment plan available.

Learn more about Lora here:
- Blog, Teaching, Tour Guiding and Books -
- Irish Heritage and Mythology Products & Gifts -
- Online Courses and Live Events -
- Find your Authentic Connection to Ireland on Patreon -

Friday 26 April 2019

Annual Bilberry Walk in July

Join Creative Ardagh in conjunction with Cruthú Arts Festival and funded by Creative Ireland – Longford, on Sunday 28th July for the Annual Bilberry Walk.
As usual we will be meeting at 11am at the GAA pitch with suitable attire for the weather of the day. This year is a year of great celebration as we will no longer be wading through the mud but using the newly created walk thanks to Longford Tourism.
Brendan Farrell of Ardagh Village Landscapes, our traditional “leader of the walk” will start with a tour of his wonderful garden and advise us on biodiversity, then we will follow him over the hill.
Following that, wander on into Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre where Ann and Annette will entertain you with their Scéalta Beo storytelling of local legends. Our Viking friends from the Jofur Drengir re-enactment group will be coming to entertain us and Adel Coleman, Archaeologist, will give us a lecture to update us on the developments regarding the dig at The Back of The Hill.
Light Refreshments will be provided in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Celebrating Brigid and Ardagh

This article was originally published by Ann Gerety Smyth here in 2017and featured in the Longford Leader that year.

St. Brigid and Longford

Here we are at another 1st February, St. Brigid’s Day, the festival of Imbolc, the beginning of Spring. It sprung into my mind that while St. Brigid is famously connected to Kildare, that we should explore her links with Longford as she continue to be acknowledged locally by all the churches, schools and clubs that are named after the Patroness of Ireland and by the traditions that are alive in the area.

Who is Brigid?
The St. Brigid everyone knows about is the St. Brigid we learned about at school, a slave by birth, born  circa 453, in Faughart. Her mother was a Christian woman, Brocessa, slave to a chieftain Dubthach. She was kind and generous and has many miracles to her name, the most famous being that of the original St. Brigid’s Cross and the one about her cloak covering enough area to claim as a convent in Kildare.  

Long before Christianity there was another Brigit. In Irish Mythology, Brigit was the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha De Danann, wife of Bres of the Fomorians. She is often seen as a threefold goddess over healing, poetry and smithcraft. (Lebor Gabála Érenn). Many of the stories of the mythological Brigit and the Christian St. Brigid have similarities, the Brigit’s doll became the St. Brigid’s Cross, the Brigit’s mantle became St. Brigid’s Cloak and many of the miracles performed by St. Brigid mirror the powers of the ancient goddess.

What are St. Brigid’s connections to Longford?
The first connection of Brigit to Longford, and not a widely known connection, is Brigit was daughter of the Dagda and so therefore must have been half sister to Midir, son of the Dagda, Midir of the local legend of The wooing of Étáin, Midir of Brí Leith, Ardagh and The Bog Road in Corlea, Kenagh. There must be many stories to be uncovered about this half sister and half brother and hopefully by this time next year we will know more. It is interesting, given our history of poets and writers in Longford, that Brigit is the goddess of the poet.

St. Brigid has strong connections to the county too. By many accounts she came to Ardagh and received the veil at the hands of St. Mel. In some writings she is said to have been professed as a nun, in others she was professed as a nun and also received abbatial powers and in others, my favourite, she was ‘accidentally’ ordained a Bishop by St. Mel.

While it is widely accepted that St. Brigid established her first convent in Kildare there are a number of writings that say otherwise and that her first convent was in Ardagh, Clonbroney or Ballinalee.

The Dúchas school collection have many stories about St. Brigid in Longford. One story in the Dúchas collection talks of her first convent being on the north side of Sliabh Galry, another name for Ardagh Hill and another says that St. Brigid carried coals two miles and her Holy Well in Ardagh sprung up where she dropped them. Another states carrying the hot coals was a penance given to a local woman for disrespecting St. Brigid.

However tentative or true the connections to Longford are we do know that there is a St. Brigid’s Well in Ardagh that is visited every 1st February by the locals, that there are many schools, churches and clubs called after St. Brigid throughout the county and that the tradition of making the St. Brigid’s Day Cross continues locally.

Ann Gerety Smyth, Creative Ardagh, Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ardagh, Co. Longford.

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Heritage Tours and Workshops available all year

Contact us to arrange your guided tour or heritage workshop for yourself, a group or your school. #irelandshiddenheartlands, #longfordtourism, #creativeardagh
Click on the links above for more details. Here's a snippet of what we do:

Saturday 12 January 2019

New walk on Brí Leith

Thanks to Longford Tourism and the Towns and Villages 2017 the walk on Brí Leith, Ardagh Mountain has been upgraded and completed. You can read more about it here.