Creative Ireland Community Art Project “Ferbane’s Amazing World of Wonder”







Creative Ireland   Community Art Project

“Ferbane’s Amazing World of Wonder”

Offaly County Council  with financial support from Creative Ireland have awarded two grants to communities working with artists to explore and present aspects of Offaly’s heritage through art.We are thrilled to announce that Ferbane is one of the successful projects.

While this is a free event, tickets should be booked at

Creative Ireland is the Governments legacy programme for Ireland 2016, and in response Offaly has developed a Culture and Creativity Programme.

The Creative Ireland Programme has collaboration at its heart between central and local Government, between Culture, Heritage and Industry and between artists, communities and policy makers.


Artists Caroline Conway and Tina Claffey are working with members of High Street Drama Group and local musicians on a Community Art  Project that celebrates the work of Mary Ward and the beauty of the flora and fauna of Ferbane Bog.

This   project  takes its starting point from Mary Ward’s book ” A World of Wonders revealed by the  Microscope”. Written in 1858,in the form of letters to her cousin, this book was aimed at young students and conveyed Mary Ward’s excitement in the natural world. Born in Ferbane, she was a pioneering  scientist, and naturalist with a love of spectacle and the minute.

Each letter forms a chapter  with headings such as “The Wings of Insects”, “Seed Vessels of Ferns”, and these have been adapted to reflect more particularly the species of the local bog. We are creating a visual story with animated macro- photography to be projected  during a performance that will consist of  a reading of the adapted letters accompanied by specially composed music. The music is being composed by Claire Ann Kearns, a native of Ferbane and student at UCD. Claire Ann is heavily involved in Comhaltas and has multiple awards from  Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. The letters are being adapted by Brendan Ryan, Ferbane Historian and advocate for Mary Ward. He is also the director of the High Street Drama Group who will be performing the readings.

Tina is a renowned wildlife photographer with a particular focus on the bogs. Her book “A Tapestry of Light” is to be launched in October. Caroline has been working with Zoetrope animation for the past couple of years and has been awarded a number of Public Art Commissions. This is a great opportunity to collaborate as artists as well as with the local community.

The performance will take place in the Mary Ward Heritage Centre in Ferbane on October 6th , and will be preceded by a short presentation by The Living Bog Project,. Ferbane Bog is of international conservation importance because there are very few relatively intact raised bogs left in Europe or the world. For this reason, Ferbane Bog is formally designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

This project celebrates local history, science, ecology and wildlife habitats and combines visual art, photography, music and drama , as well as celebrating the lost art of letter writing.




Funded through Creative Ireland, this is  an exciting community art project  performance with a visually stunning projection and specially commissioned music to take place in the Mary Ward Heritage Centre, Ferbane on October 6th,  . Visual artist Caroline Conway and photographer Tina Claffey have been working with members of High Street Drama Group and a local musician, Claire Ann Kearns, to produce a celebration of the unique natural environment around Ferbane, with reference to the pioneering work of the nineteenth century local scientist and naturalist Mary Ward