Detail from a fascinating art installation by Robert Connolly in Ramelton, County Donegal. The hand illustrates the Ogham alphabet, with the river Lennon winding its way through the town, and part of a quotation from the old Gaelic law tracts in the top left corner – dealing with resources like timber, fish and game.
While accepting that there can be individual ownership of these, the law tracts are clear that use of them is open to the community at large – the Tuath. This passage details what may be taken from forest country:
The night’s supply of kindling from every wood
The cooking material of every wood
The framework of every vehicle, yoke and plough
Timber of a carriage for a corpse
The shaft fit for a spear
A supple hand implement for a stable
The tapering wood for a spancel
The making of hoops (for barrels)
The making of a churn-staff
The nutgathering of every wood
The seaweed of every strand
The dulces of every rock..
More information on the Art Bench project here