Loughshore Care Partnership and The Armagh Rhymers

The Armagh Rhymers were delighted to be part of Loughshore Care Partnerships multi-generational programme encompassing the rural stretch of South Lough Neagh. The project aimed to connect all members of the community whilst at the same time preserving and highlighting local culture and heritage. As part of the ‘Homespun Humour, Loosely Woven’ project, The Armagh Rhymers met with intergenerational groups from local primary schools and each of the senior citizen groups in Maghery, Birches, Derrytrasna and Aghagallon for a morning of song, dance, storytelling and lots of good old-fashioned craic.

🎖️ The storytelling featured an old soldier, just home from the wars. He meets up with his very miserly brother and sister-in-law. Fortunately, their meanness, in the end, brought him great luck. He was able to present the King with a GIANT turnip and in return receives his just rewards.

🎶 As with all Armagh Rhymers shows the children and adults participated in the performance, stone lifting, digging, sowing, and planting, joining in the singing and dancing.

The Armagh Rhymers characteristic straw and willow masks were much admired by both children and adults. Indeed, many of the adult participants had known the renowned mask and basket maker James Mulholland of Aghagallon and were delighted to see his mask work in context.

Speaking of the project, Armagh Rhymers Director and performer, Anne Hart said,

One very lovely aspect of the project was how the adults clearly enjoyed watching the children having fun in the way they had fun in their youth, no devices or gadgets, just good old fashioned light-hearted enjoyment.

The events were reminiscent of bye gone days when people of all ages came together to act out a Rhymers play on ‘the kitchen floor’. The area of South Lough Neagh was rich in this heritage of Rhyming or Mumming and of course the lowlands around the lake was famous for willow production used in the manufacture of household implements and the iconic Armagh Rhymer masks.

This partnership and project were made possible by the support of National Lottery Good Causes and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.