The Civic Bard Quest is a series of workshops inviting you to immerse yourself in the world of Irish myth. We are now into the Third Quarter: Lughnasa – Fenian Cycle. We are offering 30 free complimentary places on this quarter on a first come first serve basis. To sign up please follow the link at the bottom of this article.

The next chapter in the Bard Quest is on the 13th of July where we are going to walk you through the Fenian Cycle. Part 1 we will discuss Wisdom of the Outlaw – Hero Outside the Tribe.

The Fenian Cycle, which also concerning the hero figure as warrior, but which has a very different feel, ethos and provenance. This is essentially the lore of the Fianna who were more nomadic in nature. They are a roving outlaw band whose main occupations were to hunt and to fight. This Cycle’s central figure is Fionn mac Cumhaill, the leader of the Fianna.

One study compares Cú Chulainn as the hero within the tribe whereas Fionn is the hero outside the tribe, the outlaw, the outsider. The themes of this cycle include hunting, adventure and quests, romance and wisdom. It would have many parallels with the Arthurian Cycle within the British Myth tradition.

The Civic’s Artistic Director has written a short piece below on what you can expect from this journey!

“We are two cycles into our wonderful CivicBard Quest programme and the interest thus far, as well as the potential out comes ahead, are thrilling to see emerging. But I know there are many in our wider Civic family who, whilst having their interest pricked, still feel a degree of reticence when it comes to joining in the fun. What is it really all about they say? Is it really for me? What happens in the room should I chose to attend? So I thought I’d give a little more insight so as to encourage further and wider participation.

As Sandy Dunlop from our partners Bard Mythologies puts it “Basically its for anyone with an inquisitive mind who loves stories and myths and just has a sense that there might be something in this ‘stuff’ of culture, in no small part because it has lasted such a long time and is, essentially, of the people – the collective wisdom of the people.

“The purpose of Civic Bard quest is not a return to some archaic world, a once golden age, but rather – through sharing and playing in the here and now – to explore a really practical and life affirming application of the ancient Irish oral tradition. We call it the Mythic Method; it’s a way of looking deeply at today by exploring what from the past remains universally relevant and still with us in our everyday lives. It gives fresh new perspectives, it gives a way of seeing – ‘silver branch perception’ as it’s called in the Myths.”

Having attended some sessions myself I can vouch for this. The room is welcoming, fun, playful and full of humour, great thought and generosity. It’s a great mix of everyday people – the retired, poets, writers, community activists, artists, thinkers, even folk who have just come along for the craic! The conversation and sharing is electric and eclectic and no one is put on the spot to take part in any process they don’t feel on for – some just love to talk whilst others feel empowered to creatively play, but together – as each myth is told, examined and teased out into new ways of seeing and being in the world – the group collectively finds great togetherness and personal value.

Sometimes someone brings a self-scripted version of the story, other times different participants get to share their own insights and experiences, still others sit and listen and take it all in – but the everlasting myth binds everyone into a singularity that defies rhyme or reason. They just are and they remind us there is more to us than just shopping, the internet and so often feeling alone in the world.

So if you have an inquiring mind, if you care at all about your world and the community you live in, if you like to think there could be better ways of being, better ways of thinking, better ways of imagining new paths, or you simply love stories, love hearing new ideas, love playing, singing, laughing, sharing, caring, them I think the CivicBard is definitely for you.

And who knows, maybe along the way you’ll also discover the personal Bard locked up inside all of us.”

Michael Barker-Caven
Civic Theatre, Artistic Director

CLICK HERE to sign up
Lughnasa – Fenian Cycle dates and times:
Friday 13th July, 7pm
Saturday 14th July, 10am
Friday 28th July, 7pm


Please note there are only 30 places for this course. Contact Box Office on 01 4627477 if you need more information.