Artwork by artists Lorraine Whelan & James Hayes
Upcoming projects:

Umha Aois 2018 - Sounding the Bronze Age in Kerry

Now in its 25th year, the Umha Aois symposium project has been on the forefront of experimental archaeology in Ireland, encouraging dialogue between art and archaeology and connecting practitioners, makers and researchers: archaeologists provide historic contexts, references and research challenges, while sculptors and makers offer to share their understanding of materials and processes. The symposia are structured to resolve complex research challenges ranging from making EBA copper axes to LBA bronze cauldrons and horns, but also venturing out into the Iron Age and medieval period. Past participants included sculptors, archaeologists, craftspeople and makers from Ireland, Germany, UK, USA, Holland, Sweden and Denmark as well as academic links with UCD, the Universities of Cambridge and Aberystwyth.

Over the last decade the focus has been on more authentic and efficient production methods, developing the charcoal-fuelled pit furnaces that can provide sufficient metal to fabricate large LBA horns, medieval handbells or sculptural forms. These furnaces together with bivalve stone and ceramic moulds are at the core of the group’s practice, complemented by mining, smelting and alloying experiments to cover a wide range of the chaîne opératoire. Their use is then applied to a specific theme or research task for every symposium, including resolving riveting processes for BA cauldrons, casting complex forms like LBA horns or the production of medieval insular handbells, both in brazed iron and bronze. Members and new participants are encouraged to bring their own research tasks to the project, benefitting from and contributing to the groups’ collective knowledge and synergy. Demonstration of production processes are open to the public and night castings in the group’s 20ft yurt have become events in themselves, often accompanied by music sessions involving Bronze and Iron Age instruments.

The group is now inviting interested participants for this year’s Umha Aois symposium:

Location: Dromid Gaeltacht on the Iveragh Peninsula near Waterville, Co. Kerry
Dates: Sat. 25th August till Sun. 2nd September 2018

Focus: LBA and Iron Age horns, inspired by the Derrynane Horn, alongside personal projects and smelting experiments

Accommodation and catering: shared hostel accommodation in private en-suite rooms and dorms is provided on site, lunch and dinners are provided, camping and local B&Bs available
Cost: €120pp for the full week to cover materials, food and accommodation

Contact: Holger at for further information or to express interest, or refer to the website, and the group’s Facebook Page.

Umha Aois is pleased to be associated with Heritage Week 2018 and further information can be found via the Heritage Week 2018 website here.

Artwork by artists Lorraine Whelan & James Hayes