For Children - Sligo Creek Hedge School

Uaisle a éisteas le healaíon
It is a sign of nobility to patronise the art.

A few writing samples from Teen Week Hedge School


Some play with their hands
Some play with their feet
But I know a way you can be oh so sweet
To be truly unique
To achieve the harmonious tweet
Play with your nose
Because everybody knows
That the nose harp cannot be beat.

K.L., age 14


Worn brass
A thrilling sound
As the whistle player
starts another tune.

M.L., age 14
(a whistle player)

campers & wolfhounds

At the Pipemaker's

On Musicians

Creates moods with music
Explains problems
Lays out base line
Lengthens days
Open Minds

E.G., age 13

My Neighbor

Once again I lay awake,
because of the noise my neighbor maked.
I tossed and turned all night long,
praying to God his pipes would be gone.
On and on the pipes would roar,
producing the noise that I abhorred.
And then the sound chose to stop,
and no blessing at all this could not top.
I looked a t the time and it was nine one
and to work I had to go.

G.O., age 13


The Irish have an old tradition of describing the attributes of something in lists of threes called "triads." calligraphy time

The Three Qualities of Balance:
Love, Power, Wisdom

from G.O., age 11

Three accomplishments well regarded in Ireland:
A clever verse, music on the harp,
the art of shaving faces.

Three qualities in narration:
a good flow, depth of thought, conciseness.

Three things that are always ready in a decent
man's house: beer, a bath, a good fire.

translated from 9th century Irish poetry

A Poetry on Tea

In the Hedge School, the favorite part of our day is our Tea & Poetry Break. Over tea and hot scones or other baked goods, I introduce a topic or style of writing or poetry, drawing from Irish literature from the 9th century, to Lewis Carroll, to Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes." Topics have included tea, potatoes, encounters with fairies, musicians, limericks, riddles and many more things. After tea, the children write on the style or topic of the day.

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

Henry James (1843-1916)

"Where there's tea there's hope"

Sir Arthur Pinero


Read this my dears, and you will see
how to make a nice cup of tea
take teapot to kettle, not t'other way round
and when you hear that whistling sound
pour a little in the pot
just make it nice and hot.
Pour that out and put in the tea,
loose or in bags, your choice, you see.
One bag for each two cups will do
with one extra bag to make a fine brew.
Steep 3-5 minutes then pour a cup.
Then sit right down and drink it up!

—Afternoon Teas by Patricia Winchester

The best quality tea must have creases like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like a fine earth newly swept by rain.

—Lu Yu (d. 804), Chinese sage, hermit

Tea's proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence.

Samuel Johnson (1709-84)


At the December, 1999 End of the Millennium camp, we did "blessings." Here are 2 traditional Irish blessings:

May you have warm words
on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill
all the way to your door.

In the New Year,
may your right hand always
Be stretched out in friendship
and never in want.

Here's one camper K.L., age 14, wrote for her dog

Beegee's Blessing

May you have lots of food
and a bone to chew on
And a bed filled with cedar chips
So you may always chase cats
in your dreams.

accordion players

Pangur Ban

this poem was found in the margins of a 9th century Irish manuscript of Latin commentary on Virgil.

mummersI and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye,
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.