Look up, Look Around, Look in as Ogham trail weaves around the art heart of Belfast
Visitors to Belfast’s historic Cathedral Quarter are invited to divine their way around the area in a journey of discovery and inspiration which has its origins in the Druidic traditions of our collective past and the mythology that has endured.
Following on from last year’s successful Ogham Grove installation for Culture Night, the Cathedral Quarter Trust (CQT) is presenting Fionn’s Window, named after Irish hero Fionn MacCumhaill, a warrior chieftain and druid. Fionn’s Window launches today (June 21st), to mark the Summer Solstice.
“Fionn is said to have recognised that human life was only a small part of the larger rhythms around us,” he said.
“Fionn’s Window is the equivalent of a Tibetan mandala, a diagram of the psychic universe, helping to provide an insight into your inner self and an observational view on your place within the universe.”
Fionn’s Window comprises a series of hand-made wooden plaques, representing each of the twenty-five Ogham characters. The plaques have been placed in various locations around the Cathedral Quarter, enabling visitors to divine their own journey and answer their own personal questions.
Cathedral Quarter Trust and Culture Night Belfast director Susan Picken, explained that this will be an ongoing installation over the next six months.
“It’s lovely to be able to revisit the fascinating Ogham Tree Alphabet. For Fionn’s Window we are inviting people to use the Ogham symbols and their meanings as a way of divining their own personal journey – answering life questions or solving personal dilemmas.
“They can do this by finding four different plaques in the Cathedral Quarter, looking up the QR code on their phone for each plaque and identifying the meaning of the symbols that are revealed to them. The plaques have been placed in a range of locations across the Cathedral Quarter, each with a link to the arts, culture and heritage of the area and each plaque is inscribed with an Ogham symbol and a QR code.
“It’s an innovative, fun way of asking the universe a question and exploring the Cathedral Quarter at the same time.”
Complementing Fionn’s Window a series of ‘artist offerings’ have been commissioned, linking in with the key festivals of the Ogham tradition. Gawain was keen to draw on the success of last year’s spectacular installation as inspiration for these,
“The Cathedral Quarter is the cultural heart of Belfast, with arts organisations, venues, galleries, and amazing street art produced by local and international artists,” he explained.
“I wanted my Summer Solstice artist offering to celebrate this beautiful creativity and the potency of life in the area whilst referencing the Ogham Grove that launched me on this journey.
“Look Up, Look Around, Look In was the phrase attached to all things Ogham that we produced. To pay attention to the spaces we live our lives in, whether we have let them decline, want them to thrive, feel they need some love or are spaces that embody the creative energy of our communities.”
Alongside this divining trail, Gawain is producing an artist offering for each of the eight Fire Festivals, the first of which is the Summer Solstice, celebrating these important cycles in our solar year.
The Fionn’s Window trail will run in the Cathedral Quarter from the Summer Solstice 2022 through to the Winter Solstice on 21st December, and people can take part in the trail, asking as many questions as they want and divine their journeys as often as they want during that time.
Gawain is also producing a small piece of art for each Fire Festival during the year as his offering to these solar cycles.