Finding Purpose in Recreating the Past #29 #cong22


A project whose purpose was to invoke the past by creating authentic costumes to be worn in the present during events celebrating the continuity of St Nicholas church in Galway life.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Great sense of purpose can be found in working together and sharing skills
  2. The past and present may be linked in places and clothing.
  3. There is joy to be found in creativity.
  4. There isn’t an App for the things most worthwhile.

About Deirdre Ni Gearlailt

My name is Deirdre and I am married to Seamus. We have 4 children and two grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way. I work as a doctor in general practice and child development. My passions are my family, travelling, cooking bodhran playing and handcrafts.

Contacting Deirdre Ni Gearlailt

You can contact Deirdre by email

By Deirdre Ni Gearlailt

This is a story about a project that fostered a sense of purpose in a community, forging deep connections with the past and present.


St Nicholas church, which has been used alternately by Catholics and church of Ireland in Galway is now 703 yrs old.

A time for celebration – delayed by 3 years because of the pandemic.

4 years ago I visited a friend’s house and admired the many rich luxuriant fabrics hanging in her sewing room.

Silks,embroidered fabrics and wools.

So when I asked her what was the destiny , I found myself enrolled in a most exciting project.

The idea was to re create a medieval scene to evoke times past in at St. Nicholas church.

Building Purpose

The costumes whose designs were inspired by a medieval seamstress book with applique patterns included dresses, jackets aprons, hoods, purses and belts – both leather and woven.

The dresses have the designs from the city Tribes family crests.

A diverse group of men and women Catholic, protestant, Irish, English, American and African to form the work group.

Our little community met in the church and our purpose was to dress people who wear the costumes at fetes and when showing the church to visitors.

We are now labelling the costumes with carefully embroidered labels with silver thread embellishments.

Included in the labels of was the wearer’s name, the Tribe after whom the dress was designed and the year it was made.

The seamstress’s name was not included on the label as it was felt, like the illuminated texts of Kells a community created them and while all these details would be noted in a leather bound book for posterity it would not be mentioned in the label.

I have totally enjoyed this community with a purpose and listened to many stories of the people around the work benches.

I hope to have some of the items to show the congregation as examples of the work.

Purpose of Mind, Eye, Hand #28 #cong22


In brief ; Purpose as I thought I knew it previously in my life , and finding a new abstract form of purpose.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Meaning
  2. Abstraction
  3. Visual
  4. Hand

About Trish Findlater

I started out in life after school attending Art college. Completed several years to Masters in Fineart.
Later in life I returned to architectural school as a mature student and subsequently worked in various practices and out on my own as an interior architect… I have since ‘cooled the jets’ as they say on my hectic design work and have returned to my art studio where I am presently preparing an exhibition of my art work which will coincide with book launch ‘ the theme the Seasons in a garden and the seasons of grief.
I also have a keen interest in Gardening, music, dance, yoga and Pilates.

Contacting Trish Findlater

You can contact Trish by email

By Trish Findlater

“Purpose is an active expression of our values and our compassion for others, it makes us want to get up in the morning and add value to one’s life and the world’*

The Power of Purpose FIND MEANING, LIVE LONGER, BETTER by Richard J Leider

Purpose as I thought I knew it was snatched away some years ago with the sudden death of my husband…suddenly the tectonic plates of my life it’s purpose, meaning and happiness were shifted severely beyond my grasp.
Painting especially when painting outdoors is slowly reigniting an new form of purpose within me ,it’s abstraction only clear to me when painting.
The French use the term En plein air’ to describe painting outdoors.

I was on a recent painting holiday in the south of France, each morning I left my hotel early, pochade in right hand and canvas in left out to paint ‘en plein air’. My mantra for the day playing in my head;

“Be patient, grateful and humble.

Just to have the opportunity to paint is a gift., and especially in this beautiful place Beaulieu Sur Mer, Côte d’Azur.

Stay grateful for the opportunity, humble to the task and, for heaven’s sake, be patient with yourself.

Keep your heart open and your hand sure.”!

En Plein air painting holds tremendous purpose for me, as an artist it allows me to capture the emotional and sensory dimensions of a particular landscape at a particular moment in time. It provides an escape from reality, a wonderful sense of belonging and community with my fellow artists.

Purposely enabling self-expression and self-awareness, providing a means for contemplation and reflection a source of entertainment and enjoyment especially when the composition,design colour and intent all come together to make what is a good piece of ‘ART’.

The best advantage of painting plein air is that all the senses are engaged and like happiness, the purpose of painting is not necessary alway to complete a profound piece of ‘ART’, but rather to practice and journey through shape, design, light and colour.

Finding a purpose is accessible at any age, and I have experienced this meaningful purpose especially painting outside, it demands of one to be willing to explore what matters and what kind of person you want to be and act to become that person if that makes sense ?

I am standing at my Pochade looking at the subject matter; the promenade, azure blue sea, bobbing boats, swimmers, children playing fetch with well groomed pouches, landscape, or a bustling cafe at the market Square, consuming all my concentration so much so a bomb could go off beside me and I would remain engrossed in my painterly 2 dimensional world!

I guess by setting up my paintbox, to create a painting with Sennilier chalks I am essentially making a first-class memory, through mind eye and hand.

I am always reminded of the artist ‘Paul Klee’s essay ‘The Thinking eye’. I read as an enthusiastic young art student ‘a hundred years ago’!