Eimear Keating and Frog of Earth perform at the Jealous Wall on 29 December last

Spooky tales for Christmas week at the Jealous Wall

By Tanya Lalor

Stories about a girl’s eerie fascination with foxes, a couple whose house gets buried by a bogslide, and of a woman who trespasses on a fairy fort were among those that thrilled and entertained the audience at the Jealous Wall last Wednesday.

The mild weather was a welcome Christmas gift for the almost 100 people who gathered in front of a dramatic and illuminated Jealous Wall to listen to the dark and eerie short stories by emerging Irish writers, most of whom are from the midlands.

The stories were read by Mullingar native Eimear Keating (whose brainchild the event was) and the evocative music was provided by experimental electronic composer, Frog of Earth (aka Mel Keane).

The evening could not have gone ahead without the sponsorship of Westmeath County Council and the support of Belvedere House and Gardens.

The enthusiastic crowd heard stories about a girl’s eerie fascination with foxes (‘Fox Teeth’ by Aisling Flynn), a couple whose house gets buried by a bogslide (‘Buried Deep’ by Longford native, Seán Finnan), a female coming of age story featuring a ouija board (‘Night when all is at its worst’ by Mullingar native, Anna Walsh), and a story of a woman who trespasses on a fairy fort (‘Cunning’ by Rónán Kenny also from Mullingar).

The performance emerged from Eimear Keating’s monthly radio show, also called ‘The Jealous Wall’ on Dublin Digital Radio.

Eimear wanted to showcase the work of young Irish (and local) writers at the setting of the dramatic Jealous Wall in Belvedere.

“The story of the Jealous Wall, centred around a feud between two brothers, and its physical presence has always resonated with me,” said Eimear.

“Like many from Mullingar, I have been coming here since I was a child. I felt that it would be a great location for such an event and was particularly interested in attracting people from outside of Westmeath to see it.”

The event was organised in collaboration with the management and staff of Belvedere and was funded by Westmeath County Council, and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.