Stories and Myths/ Scéalta agus Miotais
Balor of the Evil Eye & The Poisoned Glen
Early in 2021 An Post's Stamp Collection committee approached Barry to commission a stamp inspired by Gaelic Irish Myths & Legends. Barry was interested in how An Post was phasing out lickable stamps at the time as they were concerned about how stamps could be potential contagious vehicles for the pandemic. Inspired by the idea of a "Poisoned Pen Letter" she looked into Irish Folklore for tales of poisoning. This research was complementary of her current oblivion / seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ research which was looking at poisonous lands and environments on a micro and macro scale. Looking to the national Folklore Archives Barry focused on tales from the Ulster Cycle; That of Balór the Fomorian whose venomous eye could kill with one look. Infamously he killed his enemies with a vicious stare or contaminated whole vallies, such as The Poisoned Glen in County Donegal. His weapon was also his downfall, when as the myth goes, his grandson Lugh flung a spear into his eye, he began crying his toxic tears and drowned in a lake of his own bane.
The stamps feature two images from the myth, Balór's eye weeping tears of toxicity, the evil eye staring out at you, the poisonous liquid is a lumous toxic green, alerting us of its venom. The second features the landscape of the Glen which still holds the name of its infamous past. The glen is filled with a green poison, oozing and steaming. Both Stamps can be accompanied by a First Day Cover, of a purple envelope, with screaming mouth, and oozing neon poison beneath.
The stamps have been issued for the season whose origins come from Ireland, Hallow'een. To mark the beginning of this seasonal change and connection to our antiquity and folklore.