NMI Storage Facility Swords (22.06.15)

“The trip to Swords really put the project into focus for me; being given the rare opportunity to closely examine the original Pallasboy vessel and having on hand the collective expertise of my fellow project colleagues Caitriona Moore and Brian Mac Domhnaill, and Conor Mc Dermott who led the original excavation team in 2000. Surrounded by all manner of artefacts from Irish history and the sweet musty scent of ancient pots of bog butter, they explained to me how and why the vessel was originally crafted.

Following the tool marks left by the pre-history woodworker, Caitriona and I were able to gain some insight into the way the vessel had been shaped. The craftsmanship of the maker was in no doubt, the Pallasboy vessel was both technically advanced and quite beautiful. I was struck by the detail of carving employed to finish the graceful curves of the vessel’s sides. Small chips of approximately 10cm ran in a horizontal pattern from top to bottom. To my mind this detail was a design choice over the more random pattern which would be seen when carving these shapes. This was something I looked forward to exploring when recreating the artefact.

Caitriona worked out the number and possible style of woodworking tools originally used in making the Pallasboy. These would be recreated in the forge of Terry Tyhurst, a respected and extremely experienced blacksmith. The joy of a project such as this is to pull together and challenge people with such diverse yet linked skills.

With information gathered, photographs taken and ideas shared it was time to carefully place the Pallasboy vessel back into storage and say goodbye to the team, excited by the thought that next time we met the hard work would start.”

Mark Griffiths

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