The woman with a house on her back

Part One

The Breac Maodhóg is an Irish house-shaped reliquary. It is housed in the National Museum of Ireland. It is thought to date from the second half of the 11th century. The shrine is made from large plates of bronze on a wooden base, on which are placed series of relief figures on bronze plaques.

Since my return to Ireland, I have been exploring stories around my Great Aunt Ellie who is buried at St Mogue’s Island in County Cavan along with other members of the Creamer family.

Historically, she would have been a family carer. She was an unmarried single woman she lived with her older brother and his family all of her adult life. Some would say that she was a lonesome figure with little voice or influence in the family home or community.

In her later years she would take to the streets in search of help to find her voice. She is buried in an unmarked grave at St Mogue’s Island, Templeport.

Over the next six months I will be researching and creating a body of work around historic practices for people like Ellie, with attention to particular themes and rituals within the community. Woven into all of this work will be Ellie, layered and revisited for the observer as she makes her way across the lake as her final resting place. The lake will feature through text, drawing, sewn, woven and connected symbolically across the lake. I am curious to explore the parallels of her story to the present day, weaving and connecting stories with myself and others.

My practice is always centred on connection and collaboration with individuals and communities; to pose a question and open up a conversation for many unheard voices, to exchange stories and research maps as well as marking important moments of life through care, voice and community.

I will be sharing maps, interviews, drawings and audio to connect to St Mogue’s and the surrounding area.


  1. This is such an amazing story. Absolutely love what you are doing – such an inspiration .X


      1. Honestly you need to write your own book. I was totally absorbed in your poetic language – just amazing Carrie . Know where Grace gets it from!! Hoping to get your way in early Autumn even if it’s for a long weekend ! Hope you are well – you so did the right thing Carrie – obviously in your element Xx

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