top of page

Oilithreacht Ollan:Wool Pilgrimage  - Installation #2

Claochlú – Metamorphosis.  Artistic Collaboration of Maria Tanner Cohen and Cynthia O'Hern, May 2023

From Owenaghat we continued our Oilithreacht Ollan:Wool Pilgrimage across the country to join our second point of alignment at Sliabh na Caillaigh on the ritual landscape of Lougcrew Co Meath.

From the living darkness of the earth womb, the work would now bloom in the light, into an emanation of life.

We arrived early to the hill on the 27th of May to be met by elder and custodian of the site Lar Dooley. While summiting the hill and listening to Lar speak his insights, our eyes absorbed the sun lit plains of Meath stretching out towards Teamhair (Tara) in the East.

We spent that day absorbing the peace and power of ritual landscape and when late evening rolled in, Cynthia and I climbed the hill again. This time we carried a large wooden frame that we made to support the work. Resting the frame on both our shoulders, it felt like a ceremonial tronos to carry our votive offering of wool to the spirit of place. As we climbed, In slow, intentional step with one another, a westerly wind began to rise and wrap around the hill.

I looked across the fields below and saw a herd of cattle drift in a semicircular formation, they seemed to be directed by the group soul of the herd.

The sight confirmed the aptness of the felted vision we carried. The work was made up of a three pod like forms that would assemble together. The pod from the cave in Owenaghat would now become one of the ears or horn on a bovine like effigy.

The white cow an Bó Finn symbolises life-giving qualities of fertility, motherhood, sacrifice, nourishment and generosity. The cow appears in ancient mythology because of its importance as domestic animal and sacrificial being.

The work carries a shapeshifting (ilchruthach) dimension, where the face of a cow appears somewhat like the head of a crow. This is the Morrigu, the war Goddess sometimes referred to as the Badb Catha (Battel Crow). She is seen as a manifestation of the sovereignty goddess, who chiefly represents the role as a guardian of the territory and its people. A protection also mirrored in the symbol of the inverted triangle.

Utilising one of the oldest textiles in the world, we crafted a contemporary mythical vision, that when placed on the hill in front of the 6000-year-old Cairn T, seemed to enter the ever present record. A space where past and present are no longer distinguishable.

Alone on the hill, Cynthia and I breathed in the landscape and watched our offering be enlivened by the sheen of a crescent moon and the glow of the setting sun.

bottom of page