Thousands of stars which have been weaved as part of a project to raise awareness about violence have gone on display in Kilkenny, and many more are expected to join them.
The One Million Stars to end Violence project began in Australia, following the murder in 2012 of Jill Meagher, who was from Drogheda, but living in Melbourne with her husband Tom.
She was raped and killed by convicted rapist Adrian Bayley and her death inspired Samoan-Australian artist Maryanne Talia Pau to begin weaving stars in her memory, and to highlight violence of all kinds.
The movement spread across Australia and other countries and was recently taken up in Kilkenny, where weavers across the county have been making stars and sending them to organisers.
The organisers include art therapist Siobhan McQuillan, who also works with the Amber Women's Refuge, and project worker Stephanie McDermott. Ms McQuillan came across the weaving project while living in Australia and was determined to bring it back to Ireland.
"There wasn't any star weavers in Ireland when I came back home and I thought it would be really important to start and bring the project to Ireland, considering it was started for Jill.
"The aim of it is to handweave stars and have them in an installation for everyone to see. It’s a representation of solidarity against all forms of violence. They represent light and hope and peace."
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Weavers from all parts of Kilkenny have already been participating, with thousands of stars made from ribbon, paper and other recyclable materials sent into the project headquarters, currently at a shop premises near the junction of High Street and Rose Inn Street in the city.
"It’s quite therapeutic and also something you’re producing, so there’s a lot of value in it," Ms McDermott said.
"Plus the value of the project itself, which is the One Million Stars to end Violence."
The overall aim is to "create a lot of awareness around violence and how violence is inappropriate and illegal, for anyone to be violent against anybody," she said.
"It leads to a lot of inequality, it leads to a lot of marginalisation. The more awareness we raise, the more people will realise and maybe stop and reflect and find other ways to deal with conflict. Violence is not the answer."
The installation is supported by Kilkenny County Council and the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, and will visit other properties in the coming months, leading up to an exhibition before the end of the year.
"Kilkenny County Council is proud to be associated with this project," outgoing chairman Cllr Peter Cleere said, "which is raising awareness of this very serious problem".
In the meantime, the organisers hope others around the country will follow suit and begin weaving stars to raise awareness of all types of violence against people, with the aim of reaching one million stars in Ireland.
"The more the better, because we think it would be a beautiful thing, nationwide," Ms McQuillan said.