In August 2014, Makers Move was invited to participate with its mobile workshop during a cultural meeting in Nykøbing Mors Denmark. The cultural summit (Kulturmødet) is new stage for discussing arts and culture in Denmark.
Like many other little girls, as a child I was fascinated by the idea of being a Princess. But unlike most, I had an extra dimension to add to the dream. Cause my Irish grandmother was a Princess – almost.
On my grandma’s little finger sparkled a fascinating gold ring with an upright hand engraved. The hand’s fingers bristled straight up, and the thumb was in line with the other fingers in a vertical direction. The ring was the source of many reveries, as my grandmother was a brilliant storyteller, who liked to retell the story about it. The ring is a family ring, which only members of the O’Neill clan from Ireland are allowed to wear. The ring goes from father to child. Only sons may convey it to their children. My grand-mother had a mould of the ring, but was not allowed to pass on the ring to her two daughters, because she was a woman. Moreover, because of marriage she had changed her maiden name to O’Neill.
The little hand on the ring is “The Red Hand of Ulster”. The story my grandmother told was that Ulster (today known as Northern Ireland) at a period in the past had no relative to the throne. Several overlords wanted to fight for the right to the throne. The agreement was that they all had to compete. The one who first put his hand on Irish soil, would get the right to be King. As our family’s ancestor saw that he was losing the race, he cut his hand off and threw it from the boat onto Ulster’s soil. Thus, he was the first to lay his hand on the ground, and become King. The hand is called red, as a symbol for all the blood which that must have flowed, when he cut his hand off.
Historically, the O’Neill family has served as sovereigns in Ulster in the period from 1185-1616. So my dreams of Royal ancestors had fertile ground, combined with Victoria Holst novels among others, to accompany a little girl to develop great fantasies. My grandmother had the name, the ring, and the mould – so there had to be some truth in it.
When my grandmother died, she left the ring mould to my mother. And to this very day she takes care of the it. When I was turned 18, I got a ring as a birthday gift. I wore it for many years. In 1995, I went into the waves in the North Sea coast during a storm together with some friends. The sea sucked the ring off my finger. I went to the a merchant at the a cottage nearby, desperate in the hope that someone would have found my ring, and brought it to the grocery store. But the ring was lost forever. My sweet parents took pity on me, and gave me another ring, when I finished my studies at the University.
Today, I take great care of my ring. I always take it off when I bathe, but otherwise always wear it on my left little left little finger. The ring is a part of me, and I feel naked without it.
I have an idea about having the ring cast for giving the ring on to my own six children. Now the ring has turned into my own narrative about my grandmother and myself. So I’m working on coaxing the mould from my mother, so the story can continue through my own little clan.