Tuatha Dé Danann

1 Mar


Literally ‘The people of the Goddess Danu’, or in this case from left to right:

Rob, Angus, Jessica, Derek and Sarah – the core of the Friends of Lynwood Gardens, a small green treasure in the heart of Sheffield which has brought together these doughty folk. It is said that the Tuatha (ancestral Irish folk) had four great treasures or talismans that showed their skills in arts, crafts and magic. The first treasure was the Stone of Fal, which would scream whenever a true king placed his foot on it. The next talisman was the Magic Sword of Nuada – the one armed king of the Tuatha – a fearsome weapon that always inflicted a mortal blow when drawn. The third treasure was the spear of the Sun God Lugh, this spear never missed its target when thrown. The final treasure was the Cauldron of Dagda – a cornucopia from which an inexhaustible supply of food came forth.

Well, the friends of Lynwood have in their way recreated four sacred treasures in this hallowed ground in Broomhall. Firstly, they have uncovered and enhanced a strange old neglected Victorian garden with a work ethic enshrined in the practise of sustainable community endeavour rooted in sound ecological practise. Secondly they have safely navigated the multitude of conflicting local and municipal demands and issues without losing sight of the intrinsic nature of their work – enjoyment in being part of the Green Wood. Thirdly, they have generously shared the fruits of their labours with young and old alike and demonstrated a canny educationalists skill of ‘show, don’t tell’ to persuade locals, councillors, funders, movers and shakers (just like the Tuatha who showed great ‘domestic’ skill and leadership). Finally, and most unlike many other friends’ groups I have had the pleasure of working with, they have created a fellowship founded upon youthful energy and a celebration of diversity – a great treasure.

Their figure head and Chairman, Derek, who lives beside Lynwood gardens is, in a very real sense, Lynwood’s guardian spirit – he has quietly woven himself into the very fabric of the landscape:


He has trained and nurtured these mature willows into spectacular living green spun candy floss-like sculptures, worthy of any royal park. Just one of the treasures of Lynwood.

It could be Tir na n’Og – the land of the young, I’ve been there, have you?

2 Responses to “Tuatha Dé Danann”

  1. Jo March 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    Hi Henk, you’ll not remember me but I was the daft old bat that bought a very nice knife from you at the European Woodworking Fair at the Barns somewhere not far from an airport last year. You very patiently showed me how to sharpen said knife with sandpaper wrapped around some wood! Best tip I picked up all day ( & the knife was the best thing I bought for myself all day)!
    But I digress, I’ve been following your blog since I got back and you do meet some interesting people, don’t you?
    How nice to think that a piece of land has brought these folk together. Love the willow sculpture really neat. It seems as if the land is giving something back to them as well!
    Enough chatter, she says, keep making the knives and could I ask you to make me a marking knife with the same sort of handle (yew and buffalo horn) and a sheath to go with it ? I’ve seen your web site and the great furniture you make but I can’t afford a piece from you yet!!
    In the meantime, go well.
    Kind regards to you and yours, Jo

    • woodenhenk March 1, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

      Hey Jo! Nice to hear from you. I’m sure I can make you a marking knife – I presume you want a straight blade? Let me know what length blade (eg 70 mm). Be happy to make for you. Glad you like the blog, it is fun to share stories about the interesting folk I meet. You can email me direct on: henkswoodwork@gmail.com
      Best wishes

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