Sunday, July 14, 2013

Museums are such an important part of my research and thankfully we have loads if great ones in Ireland. Me and Mam and the boys are off to Limerick on a road trip Monday to visit The Hunt Museum on a special mission for my new novel - but more on that later..... Today - I am beyond excited that one of the most original and important Irish collections recently opened in Ballina - my home town. The Jackie Clarke collection is the lifetime’s work of our local businessman and republican Jackie - who was also a great friend of my grandfather, Hugh Nolan. I am ashamed to say, I didn't make the official opening and have been caught up the kid’s holiday craziness since - so I didn't get in until yesterday and even then I had the Tominator in tow so it was a very quick visit. It was a hot day and starting to drizzle slightly so as we were passing I simply veered the kids towards the side door of the beautiful old bank building where the collection is on display. The first thing we saw was the most beautifully designed 'secret' garden and in it was a small, purpose built garden room which, aside from a video about Ballina and a few cabinet containing papers - there was a cabinet containing beautiful vintage children's toys and books - including two very old and doubtless very valuable Mickey Mouse teddies. Tommo (4) was dumbstruck and frankly - so was I. Another cabinet had a collection of old lemonade stickers and food packaging. Aside from acquiring Ireland's important political documents around the formation of the state (including our actual Proclamation of Independence) Jackie must have been hoarding from an early age - keeping his toys and all sorts of what must have seemed like valueless paraphernalia for the posterity of future generations. The woman who has spent the past few years of her life organising Jackie's 'stuff' into a properly curated collection (which first must have amounted to a gargantuan shed-clearing exercise if the breath of the brief first-look I had is anything to go by) Sinead McCoole is one of Ireland's leading historians and boy - are we lucky to have imported her into our corner of County Mayo.  I've a feeling I'm going to be in here a lot.....

No comments:

Post a Comment