I've mentioned a few times that I was born and spent my early formative years in Ireland. When we lived in Galway my mum started an all girl early music group with 3 friends (Maura Walsh, Anne Smith and Kate Mac Maghnuis)- The Good Ladies of Galway. They played a mixture of medieval instruments including gemshorns, recorders, fiddles... In 1996, the year before we departed for England, they founded The Early Music Festival. After we left Galway the festival continued but The Good Ladies disbanded.
This year is an extra special year; the 21st anniversary of the festival. This year's festival celebrates women (hurrah!!) and to mark this special year The Good Ladies are reforming for one night only. If you are a Galway dweller check out the programme of events here and book tickets to see The Good Ladies here.
As well as playing with The Good Ladies my mum and Maura Walsh have always made the costumes for The Good Ladies. They have always been pretty fabulous, from Hennin to Surcoat, they have made a multitude of costumes over the years. Here are two of my favourite pictures from their archive:
For their latest incarnation my mum has made 4 glorious green frocks and jewellery to accompany. I in fine tradition donned one of them and tried to perfect my medieval stare whilst wielding a handful of beautiful fake blooms.
I say in fine tradition because the various offspring of The Good Ladies have always been roped into wearing medieval costumes for parades, performances and publicity. I'm sure it's had some bearing on my love of dressing up now, and I'm sure in no small part influenced my decision to become a fashion historian. Here I am in a miniature jesters costume standing by a slightly terrifying mannequin dressed in a galloping horse costume that my mum made my brother.
And here I am with my brother, George, on the far right, and the daughter and niece of another member of The Good Ladies. The sweetest picture, I'm really not sure what we were up to. It looks as if we have been instructed to wait patiently (and George is having difficulty doing so!)
I sadly won't be able to catch The Good Ladies this time but I have heard a sneaky rumour that it might be recorded in which case I'll be sure to share it with you all!
In the meantime you can check out their Facebook page which is home to a wonderful array of photographs from across the years.
Everything made by Penny MacBeth