Saturday, 11 July 2015

Local Focus | Sara O'Neill

There is one thing about Ireland that will (and has) always drawn me back from wherever my younger travels had taken me. It's not enough for me to describe it as simply the scenery, even though our landscapes here are anything but simple. It's the magic of Ireland. Wherever you are on the island, you'll never be far from that magic. It sets roots in your heart and it grows with you. That magic, for me, stems from folklore and myths. It is known the world over that Ireland is steeped in magical tales of folklore and mythical stories of Druids and Celtics, Banshees and our faeries (there are still some here that cater their gardens for our winged friends).

One (frankly, amazing) Irish designer and illustrator, hailing from our stunning North Coast where the tides crash and ebb against the sandy shores, can only be described as a true interpreter of those folklore stories of old and she cleverly uses fashion to tell those stories...

Sara O'Neill has been on my radar for a while now, her illustrations and sketches are romantic and dreamy, perfect for engaging your imagination.

Today, I wanted to show you all just how amazing the result can be when you marry Irish folklore, myth and magic together with stunning silk prints.

Eadach by Sara O Neill, Local Focus, The Style Guide Blog, Irish style blog, Northern Ireland


Sara O'Neill's Éadach Collection is everything dreams are made of. Especially if you grew up with, or have a love for, Irish folklore as that is where Sara derives her inspiration from. Like me, Sara grew up hearing the stories of Old Ireland. There is a feeling of being swept away listening to the old lore, you can feel and sense the magic. Of course this can depend on the story teller but luckily here in Ireland we have some of the best. I remember listening to my Grandfather's lilting accent as he regaled me with tales of Leanaí Lir (I loved the story so much I ended up playing parts in many different productions of the tale) and many more of the old tales. Sara tells a similar story, growing up on tales of Cú Chulainn, Fionn MacCumhail and, of course, our famous Bean Sidhe (Banshee). Stories I know by heart and that I look forward to passing on to my own son.

It's those stories and our beautiful coast that set the backdrop for some of the most stunning pieces I've seen come out of Ireland in recent years. Pieces that are not only magical in feeling but wearable in design. 

Banshee Dress, Irish Folklore, The Irish Banshee, The Style Guide blog, Local Focus, The Agoraphobic Fashionista

Local Focus, Sara O Neill, The Style Guide Blog, Northern Ireland style and beauty site
Children of Lir, Designer dress, silk folk dresses, unique boho dresses, The Style Guide Blog,

The first apron-style dress (the Banshee Apron) could be so easily worn during Summer, with a pair of leggings if you so wished and I can imagine standing on the shore at the coast, with the wind whispering legends of old as it whistles past and the sea crashing it's soothing lullaby....

It's a collection dreams are made of. 

You can check out more of Sara's designs on her site (here) or her Facebook (here) and I urge you to do so. 

One glance at the beautiful, bohemian faerie herself wearing her ''Pirate Queen'' dress is enough to send me off dreaming once more.

Sara O Neill, Irish Silks Designer, Illustrator, The Style Guide blog, Sera McDaid

Sara does accept commissions on both her amazing artwork, illustrations and fashion creations (which includes scarves that are so big you can do anything with them!) just head over to her Facebook (again, here) to get in touch.

How lucky are we, here in Ireland, to not only have such magic in our land and in our culture and heritage, but also such talent for passing those stories and that magic on...

Have you been swept away by Sara O'Neill and her fantastic storytelling? I know I have!

Silk Design - Sara O'Neill
Dress Design - Una Rodden
Model - Úna G
Photos - Khara Pringle
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