For a very long time I have wanted to create an art piece based on Dame Alice Kyteler. Without a doubt she is one of my all time favourite nuggets of history from my medieval home town. Dame Alice was the first woman to be accused of witch craft In Ireland in around 1300. She was somewhat of a powerful woman in Kilkenny at the time. She was briefly accused of killing her first husband with her second. From there on she became a woman shrouded by suspicions. She was accused of money lending, sacraficing animals. witch craft, sleeping with her demons, blasphemy just to name a few. When her forth husband became sick he suspected he was meeting the same faith as her last 3 loves. Her followers we rounded up and brutally questioned. Her servant girl Petronella De Meath was flogged and tortured to the point where she admitted that Alice was involved In all the crimes put against her. Once she was condemed by the Church, the first on record, she fled the country with Pertonella's daughter, Alices granddaughter. Petronella De Meath was then to be the first woman burned to the stake In Ireland for crimes of witch craft on November 3rd 1324. That forever friend friendship bracelet Alice bought Petronella In Argos the year before melted quicker than her heart. Oh the backstabbing pain.
Dame Alice Kyteler fled the country and the remainder of her life Is a mystery. Today In Kilkenny the house where she was born and lived Is still a popular eating and drinking tavern and the tunnels that Alice escaped through are still beneath the city streets.
The mural I created hopefully remembers the tale of this amazing time in the city. At street level you see Alice as if she Is laid out to be burned at the stake. Laying on top of all the wood brought to the fire. When you look through the gaps you see that she Is levitating, floating away. Perhaps she's engrossed In one of her incubuses? She does have a slight cheeky smile goin on.
I only discovered another amazing piece of information the other day on my Facebook page:
Alan Phelan Fitting as dame Alice was accused of witch craft in that very church behind it. Also a part of her father's grave slab can be seen in the monuments room at st Marys.
How cool is that? Hope these stories keep on coming and people start looking back at the amazing history thats in front of us every day that we sometimes forget. Thanks Alan.
This was an amazing commission and all thanks to certain people in the city who we're willing to take a chance and do something different. I was commissioned by the Keep Kilkenny Beautiful volunteers and the Kieran Street Business Association to take the neglected empty lot across from Lautrec's and do something different with it to brighten the place up. I was very humbled to be asked to take a project like this on and admired everyone involved for being so open to my suggestions and ideas. It is really encouraging to have people in the city like this so open to new imaginative projects as I am sure not not everyone was down with having a giant Witch on the wall of their street. The former city mayor David Fitzgerald was incredible during the making of this and for that I thank him, a big supporter of the arts and youth projects In the city and I'm sure there will be more artistic devilment we'll get up to. I hope creating such a large mural in the heart of the city opens peoples minds and makes them want to do something with the derelict spaces that have been popping up over the past year or two. There are so many great artists wanting to add colour to the streets and giving them support and the go ahead is all It takes. All you have to do Is ask. We have enough with the grey skies and constant rain so why not bring new colour and imagination to the walls. I know from my experience painting over the week that everyone was excited to see something so large and different enter their space, kids were buzzed and tourists from all over we're so amused. If there are walls to lend us please get in contact and let me know. Be sure to raise your glass or clank a pint glass next time your in Kyteler's Inn to the Dame where she is still stealing mens hearts...literally.