An Táin Festival

A Celebration of Magic, Myth & Mystery

Sunday 20th May 2018

Longford Town from 11.00am

What is An Táin Festival

An Táin Festival

An Táin Festival is an event dedicated to the celebration of Irelands Warrior Woman, Queen Medb of the ancient Irish epic ‘An Táin Bó Cúaligne’, as well as other powerful women in myth, legend and contemporary society.

Medbs story is set in a rural, tribal and pagan Ireland around the time of Christ. There are however many interesting stories of pagan Queens, Goddesses, Druids and Mystical Women with magical powers both here in Ireland and around the world.

We seek to celebrate these women and share their unique stories, while also celebrating our modern women warriors, heroines who fight for the rights of our Mother Earth and those who claim it as home.

This event is for everyone but mostly it is an invitation to all women, of every nationality, community, religion, culture, tribe, ability and sexual orientation to come together in celebration of our shared ancestral roots, our stories and experiences, the things that binds us as warrior women in the world.

To celebrate, a variety of cultural activities take place in Longford town focusing on art, craft, music, singing, storytelling, drumming, literary activities and environmental events.

This years Táin March through Longford town begins at 2.30pm from Connolly Barracks Longford. Everyone is welcome to join in.

Longford Myths & Legends

County Longford has a rich mythological history, the two main stories associated with the county being that of ‘An Táin Bó Cúaligne’ and ‘Tochmarc Étaín’, which is based for the most part at the legendary hill of Brí Leith. One is noted as a tale of war and the other a tale of love. Both are interestingly dominated by women wild at heart, full of power and magic.

There are also stories of the Goddesses Brigid and Eithne after whom the river Inny is named,  Gráinne from the legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne and Clothra, sister of our Warrior Queen Medb and once the owner of Inchcleraun Island on Lough Ree. – Clothras Island.

These myths and legends contain fascinating insights to our female ancestors, inspirational women whose unique feminine wisdom and connection to the land was once celebrated. The stories  are woven into the various cycles of Irish history, connecting women, wild at heart, throughout time. In still moments  we can still sense this deep connection to the ancient spaces on and in the landscape.

The Táin March

The Táín March is a cross country walking festival established to celebrate the internationally renowned epic tale of ‘An Táin Bó Cúaligne’, through walking, historical re -enactment and cultural activities.

Originally established to promote the County Louth section of the route, the march now traverses the countryside of Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Cavan, and Meath, it’s destination being Omeath in County Louth. In Longford the march passes through Clondra, Longford town, Ballinalee and Granard.

A unique, long distance walking event, The Táin March retraces, in as far as possible, the route taken by the Warrior Queen Medb and her armies as she challenged the men of Ulster to battle in an effort to steal the famed Brown Bull of Cooley.

This famous route brings its warrior walkers through some of the most enchanting countryside in Ireland, steeped in ancient Irish history, myths and legends. Many of Irelands most important historical sites are located on or near this route.

The greatest joy of the journey is in celebrating with the villagers, townsfolk and culturally curious characters along the way.

This years Táin March through Longford town begins at 2.30pm from Connolly Barracks Longford. Everyone is welcome to join in.

Brí Leith

Brí Leith  is named after the ancient home place of  Midir the Proud, also the site of Longfords legend Tochmarc Étaín, and portal to Tír na nÓg, the magnificent wild underworld of the ‘Tuatha Dé Danann’ – the people of the Goddess Danú.
This mystical tribe of people are described  as having been highly skilled in the arts. They also remain inextricably linked with the Irish Landscape, many of our most ancient sites bearing their names and stories.
Our mission at Brí Leith is to help transform our community by focusing on our roles as guardians of the land and our Mother Earth.
We aim to foster a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of all life, the necessity of empowering women and girls and the right to freedom for all sentient beings.
We do this partially via our love of stories, both ancient and modern as well as our educational workshops and themed events.  An Táin Festival is one such event.
At Brí Leith, our modern tribe honour nature, acknowledging that we are part of nature, deeply rooted in the shared history and myths of our ancestors.

Click image for link

Festival Events & Activities

FREE Childrens Workshops

Venue                Temperance Hall, Longford Town

Admission         FREE

Times:               11.00 am to 12.45pm & 12.30pm to 14.15pm

In preparation for walking in the Táín March, due to arrive into Longford town at 2.30pm, An Táin Festival are delighted to provide two FREE childrens workshops in storytelling, costume making and facepainting.

To start off each workshop will be a storytelling circle at which the children will be introduced to the story of the Warrior Queen Medb and the ancient Irish epic of An Táin Bó Cúailgne – The Brown Bull of Cooley. They will also learn about other powerful and interesting women in Irish Legend and Mythology.

Thereafter members of Míde Street Theatre will continue with workshops in costume making (Swords and Shields) and face painting which will see the children ready to take part in the Táín March.

These are fun and interactive storytelling and creativity sessions in which the children will be fully engaged and prepared to join the powerful Queen Medbs Army as it makes its way through Longford town.

The workshops and costumes are kindly sponsored by Longford Heritage Office and Granard Mens Shed at  Lus na Gréine FRC.

  • Spaces are limited to 25 children per workshop.
  • Booking is essential. Places are given on a first come first served basis.
  • All children must be accompanied by a supervising adult.


Workshop Booking Enquiry

Choose Workshop

7 + 10 =

Venue                Temperance Hall, Longford Town

Admission         FREE

Times:               15.45pm to 17.00

Showcasing the origins of Irish music. This is  A Family Event of storytelling the children will love (aged 6 +)

A Continuity of Musical Instruments Through the Ages in Ireland  –

A performance/presentation with a particular emphasis on women from the time of the Táin, Queen Medb and Princess Findabair.

A celebration of music and instruments starting with the earliest habitation of Ireland and progressing through the Stone Age and the evolvement of instruments from animal horns into the Bronze Age and  Iron Age  great horn and trumpet collection,  ending in Early Medieval times with the River Erne Psalter horns.

Each period is highlighted with the progression of musical instruments through the playing and stories from legend. It is the perfect balance between musical accuracy and visual perfection.

Simon O’Dwyer, Co-Founder of Ancient Music Ireland will discuss original uses and context including the evolvement of the whistle and stringed instruments. Ancient Music Ireland bring Irish music archaeology to life!

Instruments will include examples of the Bronze Age instrument family 1,000 – 600 BC. A pair of parade/ceremonial trumpets like those which were played in the time of Queen Medb and Cú Chulainn, 100 BC.

The new Irish/Welsh Iron Age trumpets will also be shown and played. Simon is an outstanding story teller and has the audience on the journey with him every step of the way.

Gordon Farrell Exhibition

Venue                Paraic Ward Old Pharmacy, Longford Town

Admission         FREE

Times:               12.00pm to 18.00pm

Gordon farrell is a Longford native and conceptual artist whose work is influenced by a number of sources but primarily by literature from social history, art history, mythology, psychoanalysis and what he terms the one great constant, the land itself.

This particular exhibition is inspired by poems and prose from the ancient text ‘Lebor Gabála Érenn’ – The Book of the Taking of Ireland, which recounts the mythical origins and history of the Irish, from the creation of the world down to the Middle ages.

Many of these stunning pieces  focus on the story of  Tochmarc Étaín – The Wooing of Étaín, an early text in the Irish Mythological Cycle which tells of the lives and loves of the beautiful Étaín and her relationship to Midir, a prince of the Tuatha Dé Danann, who lived in the Sidh of Brí Leith in Ardagh, County Longford

 Gordon Farrell on Visual Longford

Sharon Blackie Mythologist

Reclaiming Our Stories “The Divine Female & The Heart of the Land”

Venue                Seasons, Market Bar,Longford Town

Admission         FREE

Time:                 16.00pm

Dr. Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer whose work sits at the interface of psychology, mythology and ecology. Her highly acclaimed books, articles, online courses and residential retreats are focused on the development of the mythic imagination, and on the relevance of our native myths, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, social and environmental problems we face today.

Irish myths aren’t just a set of entertaining old stories; they are profoundly relevant today, and especially to women. To have an Irish identity or ancestry is to inherit a literature and mythology in which women are portrayed as deeply connected to the natural world, and as playing a unique and critical role in the wellbeing of the Earth and survival of its inhabitants.

Once upon a time, the divine female represented the heart of the land…. The closest thing we have to creation stories tell us that the land was shaped by a woman, and the creative essence of the universe was female, not male. The Celtic divine female in her various incarnations was deeply grounded and rooted in place, indivisible from her distinctive, haunting landscapes. She was often called ‘Sovereignty’, and represented the local spirit of the Earth itself, the anima mundi.

In An Táin Bó Cúailnge, Medb is one such character – complete with all the complexity and ambiguity of the Irish divine female. If the mythology and history of our culture includes women who are wise, women who are powerful and strong, it opens up a space for us to live up to those stories: to become wise, and powerful and strong. To be taken seriously, and to have our voices heard”

‘Enchantment isn’t about magical thinking, it is about being fully present in the world.’

from The Enchanted Life by Sharon Blackie, September Publishing (London) February 2018; House of Anansi (Toronto) April 2018

Drumming Circle

Venue          Temperance Hall,

Admission    FREE

Time:           14.00pm to 15.00pm

Sinead Harte of Hartland Rhythms is a powerful leader, facilitator, trainer and guide. She is highly skilled at engaging individuals and groups through the creative process to discovery, joy and insight.

Sinead has many talents and skills that she draws on to unleash peoples spirit and connections in fun and meaningful ways.

The techniques she uses incorporate the healing arts and developmental sciences, and her methods include body movement, singing and interactive music circles.

She is an active learner and integrator from masterful mentors, from diverse community events, from each individual she encounters, from ancestry, and from the wisdom of the earth.

Book your place via

Tribal Song Circle

Venue             Seasons, Market Bar

Admission      FREE

Time:             17.15pm to

Come share your spirit & learn some wonderful Harmonies at this unique Tribal Song Circle connecting us to the Earth and the powerful feminine spirit.

Sínead Harte of Rhythm Nation will share songs from across the globe, songs that have the ability to unlock your voice and open your heart.

Her style is empathy based with a focus of inviting celebration and ritual into the circle. She provides a magical experience, empowering women and helping build tribal/community bonds.

Often, participants will weave improvisations, movement & small percussion within the harmonies. learning to embody our souls voice in all its beauty.

Book your place via

Hedgeschool &
Story Telling

Venue            Seasons, Market Bar.

Admission     FREE

Time:            18.00pm

This evening is an open invitation to anyone wishing to learn more about the story of The Táin, tell stories, share poetry or play some music. If you are a writer, a poet or just have an interest in Irish Mythology, Legends or the history of women in the world do come along and join in.

We need to hear stories of powerful women in order to change the current cultural narrative. Perhaps you feel like writing a poem based on some of our Heroines in Irish or World Mythology. Every contribution is welcomed !!

Joining us on the evening will be Caroline Coyle, Poet, Author and Creative Goddess of locally based circle of women ‘Awakening the Goddess Within’.  Also joining us will be Anthony Murphy, author of several books on the ancient myths and monuments of Ireland and curator of the website Mythical Ireland.

Booking for this event is not required, just come and join us on the evening.

An Táin Festival Supporters

This Festival is kindly supported by Longford County Council and County Longford Tourism CLG.

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