Claí na Péiste / Worm’s Ditch

Claí na Péiste / Worm’s Ditch
Installation view: Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin (2022)
Credit: Bowe O’Brien Photography


This is a tale of a pig. A tale that corkscrews and spirals over and under ground, through centuries of shifting values and beliefs, and different psychological states.

Sibyl Montague’s Claí na Péiste accumulates culturally symbolic references to the pig in Irish folkloric storytelling, everyday life and contemporary ecology. The ubiquitous and day-to-day integration of pigs and their representation sits at odds with the concentration of pork farming across the country, bringing to the surface deep and conflicted underlying societal relationships to nature.

Montague employs a range of traditional and digital animation in this film installation, with hand illustration, CGI, and puppetry. The film’s narrative focuses on inter-species relationships and human connections to animals as both product and kin. Referring to early-Irish legends that tell of journeys of growth and transformation, Montague ushers us through models of quantum entanglement, or wormholes. These references to echtrae (adventures) and immram (voyages) to otherworlds of Tír na nÓg (Land of Youth) and Magh Meall (Plain of Joy), inform the dreamlike pacing and structure of the film.

Claí na Péiste’s pig and worm characters shape shift between timelines that chronicle their personification and experiences in a world designed to confine and control them. Together they channel dualistic perspectives of spirituality, progress, decline, cruelty, and magic in the Irish cultural landscape. Montague’s focus on de-colonial approaches to iconography and linguistics re-aligns knowledge from national collections, rural and ancestral communities, archaeology and megalithic sites.

Download the exhibition text as Gaeilge, translated by Clíodhna Ní Chorráin.



A film by Sibyl Montague
Hand Drawn Animation: Keith Kavanagh
CGI Animation: Andrew Loughnane
Compositing and effects animation: Aoife Balfe and Rory Kerr
Artwork: Sibyl Montague
Green Screen:
Co directed by Sibyl Montague and Karyn Hunt
Puppets: Sibyl Montague
Performer 01: Aoibhinn O’ Dea
Performer 02: Jack Rogers
Camera and lighting: Luke Faulkner
Camera assistant and stills: Leigh Arthur
Wardrobe: Aoife Ward
Production assistants: Aoife Ward and Jack Rogers
Editor: Rory Kerr and Sibyl Montague
Sound: Sibyl Montague
Production consultant: Aoife Balfe and Leigh Arthur

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