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About the Armagh Rhymers

The Armagh Rhymers are one of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional music and theatre ensembles. For 30+ years we have delighted audiences at international children’s theatre festivals, ritual drama and folk festivals. We are Mummers, ballad singers, actors, musicians, dancers, storytellers and clowns, dressed in amazing costumes and masks of flax, willow and straw.

The masked tradition of rhyming with its unique blend of music, drama, song and dance dates back over 2,500 years. It celebrates the ‘theatre of the people’ and has inspired many major Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney, Brendan Kennelly, John Montague and John Hewitt.

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What we do

What people say

Fantastic show - full of energy, fun and participation. Rhymers had wonderful rapport with the children. A day they will remember for a long time. Rhymers had excellent awareness of disabilities and working caringly and sympathetically with the young people to get the very best from them.

- Fleming Fulton, Special Needs School

Those festival goers lucky enough to catch the Armagh Rhymers at Glastonbury had a whale of a time

- Gordon Adair, BBC on Glastonbury Festival

There were people from 12 European countries and they were blown away. One girl from Slovenia said 'it was the most brilliant thing that has happened to me in Ireland'

- Andy Pollack, Trans Frontier Euro-Institute Network

Myths and Legends - a fantastic part of our book week. Thanks again.

Millisle Primary School

Very interactive, enthusing, enjoyable, great music, excellent use of instruments to match parts of the story. Great interaction with children.

Mt. St. Catherine's P.S.

The Rhymers were excellent, ages ranged from 3-10. Children interacted fully and were enthused and willing to take part. It was great fun and the stories were inspirational. The music was excellent, incorporating different cultures. Parents said that the children will remember it forever.

- Children's Festival, Mayo

As always a wonderful and energetic performance which engaged a very varied audience drawn from many ethnic groups in our area.

- Public Library, Dublin

It was an excellent session. the children thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was appropriate for the age level and suitably varied.

- Dromtrasna, N.S.

Media

Events Calendar

The Wicker Man festival
Most of what we believe about the events surrounding the Wicker Man festival are based on the cult British horror film of the same name, starring Edward Woodward. A film that is well worth watching.
The Wicker Man is (usually) a giant figure made up of a wooden frame lased with flexible sticks. Normally this is burned at the end of a service (allegedly) to the old Celtic gods, to ensure a good harvest. In many places this ceremony has been contaminated by Christian beliefs and practices. In Italy the festival is now held on Mid-Lent Thursday..
The belief that a man or woman was immolated within the wicker basket appears to based on misinformation put around by the Romans. However, the Portuguese in particular may have used the festival to dispose of people already condemned to death. Or failing that, someone handy who wasn’t going to be missed.
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TODAY IS THE FEAST OF LITHA, which is celebrated on the Summer Solstice. Today is the longest day of the year and, paradoxically, is the day the sun’s powers also begin to wane. Litha is celebrated at dawn on an old sacred site. A fire is lit and drums are beaten to encourage the rising sun to shine long and bright to encourage growth.
This celebration has been carried out for millennia at the Knockmany Passage Tomb, which overlooks the Clougher Valley. It was constructed 3000 to 5000 BC and is the resting place of Queen Áine, of the Dana, the people who inhabited Ireland before the Celts. Áine was the goddess of love and fertility. Here also is the world of the Sidhe, the divine spirits, where the dead walk among the living.
John McAllister, writer and avid reader. @John_Armagh
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June 10th is the start of the Wicca Duir (or oak tree) period which runs from June 10th to July 7th.
The main attributes of people born during this period are: strong, brave and honourable.
The followers of the Wicca Way (and before them, the Celts) have a strong affinity to trees and have settled on a tree and its deemed strengths for each section of their 13 period lunar year. The oak tree is perhaps the most magical of the all. Oak groves were deemed to be sacred. The old Celtic word for the oak tree can be interpreted as Druid, which in turn means Strong Knowledge.
The Emperor Augustus lost three Legion standards to the Germans. Two were quickly recovered but the third could not be found, which broke Augustus’ heart. Many years later, the Emperor Claudius talked to German prisoners and freedmen, pretending to be interested in their religion, which was based on the oak tree. Gradually the Germans made mention of their places of great worship – all except one. Claudius sent a legion to that religious site, and there they found the missing standard.
John McAllister, writer and avid reader. @John_Armagh
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LATEST NEWS

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Laoch na Laochra: A Mythological Narrative of the Life of Cúchulainn

Cookstown Exhibition @ The Burnavon: A Mythological Narrative of the Life of Cúchulainn Dara Vallely and Reamonn O Ciaran tell the story of the great warrior Cúchulainn. The story of Cúchulainn dates back to the 7th Century AD but still dominates the mythological and imaginative landscape of Ireland. The tale has been handed down from […]

Contact

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39 Abbey Street, Armagh, BT61 7DY

T: 0775 126 8512
e: info@armaghrhymers.com

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