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19 Jan 2022

PICTURES: History of Cullen through art and sign language

In this week's Nationalist

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

Recreation of Sarsfield Rock by the children of Cullen N.S. as featured in the history of Cullen

The children at Cullen National School were very excited recently to welcome their parents and families to a miniature walking tour of replicas of the ancient sites and monuments of their local area.

They created the art exhibition to capture the history of Cullen at their school. Each family was given an allocated time to walk through the exhibition, ensuring compliance with Covid-19 social distancing and Government guidelines.

The students received a grant from the Tipperary County Council Arts Department and they engaged a local artist, Elena Sawczenko, to help them recreate replicas of the sites and monuments of interest in Cullen.

Elena is profoundly deaf and she taught the children how to communicate through art and sign language. The communication process was wonderful to observe and it resulted in the creation of a fantastic display of artwork depicting the local village history.

Pictured at the launch of the history of Cullen through art and sign language were: Elena Sawczenko (artist), Siobhan Nugent and Anne Bradshaw, HSE

Cullen has a rich historical past and local tradition says its name means holy land of the Uí gCuanach, who were a tribe that descended from the earliest settlers in the parish.

Using a map of all the local history sites, the children travelled to each of the sites and researched the history and myths surrounding them.

They then went on to recreate and build replicas of the sites to capture the vibrant culture and history of their village.

They used recycled materials to create their pieces including old cardboard, used tin foil and environmentally friendly paints.

Patrick Sarsfield is remembered as an Irish hero and is very important to Cullen because he marched through the village with 600 troops to ambush the British Williamites army in 1690 at Sarsfield Rock.

The children recreated the Rock and camp base at the Battle of Ballyneety site, and the stream where he got the password, “Sarsfield is the Word”. Parents and family members were amazed at the display as they learned so much of the history of their area that they had never known before.

Local parent Siobhan Bradshaw said: “I never realised how important the Golden Bog of Cullen is to Irish history and that the list of gold objects found there is said to be one of the most important and prolific sites where gold was found in Ireland.”

Jeanne Hurley, principal at Scoil Chuileann said that this sustainable exhibition can be put on display again at any time when restrictions are a thing of the past and the virus is assigned to its own place in the history books.

“This is a most exciting project and we deeply appreciate the support of Tipperary County Council for their funding support,” added the principal.

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