A Way Home – An Slí Abhaile: Sep – Nov 2021

Art by Ciaraioch

Collection of award winning illustrators

Discover the magic of Halloween at Siamsa Tíre’s Samhain exhibition  ‘A Way Home – An Slí Abhaile’. Combining imaginative illustrations and ancient folklore with a modern-day fairy tale, this is an experience that will delight children, families and those of us who are still children at heart.

‘It’s the darkest time of the year and yet you folk cling to your tiny light. But it also means the lost souls can be seen. Well… some of you can see them,’ the Púca said.

Two siblings get lost in the woods.  There they meet a mysterious traveller and embark on an adventure that sees them encountering a cheeky púca, some lost souls, and a choir of banshees…

Art by Fergal O'Connor

Our new arts exhibition for children and families showcases the breadth of talent in contemporary Irish illustration while retelling the story of Samhain (Halloween) for a new generation. As told by children’s writer Olivia Hope, this Halloween story is magically brought to life in colourful illustrations to create a rich experience for children and all visitors.

As part of Siamsa Tíre’s Associate Artist scheme, it commissioned Olivia to research Celtic folklore and to develop a new story inspired by the traditions and beliefs associated with Samhain, a time when the light of summer yields to the darkness of winter and imaginations are able to flourish in the shadows.  Olivia’s imagination flourished and her story, A Way Home/Slí Abhaile, is the inspiration for this major art exhibition for children. She collaborated with 20 illustrators and artists who have coloured her story with magic and life.

Art by Una Woods

The list of exhibiting illustrators is an illustrious one.  It features a number of Children’s Books Ireland and An Post Book award winners and nominees, Irish Design award winners, internationally acclaimed artists and a New York Times bestseller. The roll call includes Ciara Kenny, Tatyana Feeney, Úna Woods, Paddy Donnelly, Brian Fitzgerald, Katya Swan, Celine Kiernan, Margaret Anne Suggs, Eva Byrne, Sheena Dempsey, Linda Fährlin, Fergal O’Connor, Olivia Golden, Paula McGloin, Tara O’Brien, Lauren O’Neill, Karen Vaughan, Lauren O’Hara, Barry Quinn and Tony O’Connor.

Their work forms the basis of our Samhain exhibition that will run from September 23rd to November 21st as part of a planned Samhain festival in partnership with Kerry County Museum. There are 46 artworks in total, displayed in the gallery at the eye level of the target audience, gradually moving up from floor work for babies to adult height by the end of the story.

Art by Lauren O'Neill

Olivia is amazed by the different ways in which the illustrators interpreted her story, and hopes that their art will inspire the old tradition of story-telling in the young.

This is an exhibition that, as the days grow shorter, you can find some light and magic and explore the true meaning of this Celtic festival.

To hear the story as broadcast on RTE Jnr’s radio show Cake, link to RTE Jnr – A Way Home.