Poster for Galway Wool Co-op Exhibition and my felted white top hat with lotus top.

Ulysses Inspired Hat in Galway Wool Co-op Meithal Exhibition

Since moving to Ireland and learning about Irish wool being wasted - thrown out - I have tried to be more sustainable and incorporate local wool in my felted hats.


The Galway Wool Co-op

While researching, I came across the Galway Wool Co-op. They have collaborated with designers, makers, and artists to increase the profile of this particular breed of sheep. This year the Co-op is having a one-day exhibition in Athenry and they sent out a 'call' for applicants. So, I applied and purchased a kilogram of Galway wool fleece from Donegal Yarns.

The Plans

Originally, I planned to make TWO hats - one for the Ulysses-inspired Bloomsday Celebration, AND one for the exhibition.

Front view of my 'Returning to the Blooms' top hat.


In September, the local branch of my library in Dundrum started a book group for James Joyce's 'Ulysses'. Due to travel and work, I missed several months of the group's meetings. However, I did (with the help of the excellent RTE audio podcast) manage to complete the book! While I cannot say that I entirely understood everything (how could I?), I feel the glow of some accomplishment.  I also attended a fascinating walking tour of the Footsteps of Leopold Bloom put on by the James Joyce Centre.

Anyway, my Ulysses-inspired hat, 'Returning to the Blooms', was supposed to be a boater-style - like the ones that folks wear on June 16th to dress up for Bloomsday, which is a very BIG event. The hat has the word 'Yes' as it is Molly's final word in the book and frequently said in her monologue. Additionally, there are two connecting lines on the brim which are supposed to represent the parallel tram lines that Leopold observes. Observant eyes will notice that it has a lotus-seed top, similar to a dramatic hat that I created earlier in the year. 

Unfortunately, I ran out of time and ended up only making one hat. The boater shape morphed to become a short top hat because THAT was my plan for the exhibition. (I like to follow my plans, even when things 'go pear shaped'. Thankfully, felt is maleable). But, the hat is different than envisioned - it was supposed to be taller.  As a result, the hat ends up looking like one worn by a cowgirl/boy. I have a funny video showing this over on Instagram. Thankfully, I have figured out how to include it below!

Hey There Cowgirl


Exhibition Video

Lastly, there's a delightful video showing all the pieces that are part of the Galway Wool Co-op's exhibition. You can see it over on Facebook or Instagram.

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