State Visits Exhibit Comes to Kilrush

Clare People, Tuesday, 27th November 2007

By Shane Murphy

Part of an exhibition honouring the state visits of the Hillery presidency has been placed on display at Kilrush Public Library. The move represents the first exhibition from Clare Museum to be hosted by the O’Gorman Street Library. “From The To Here: The State Visits of the Hillery Presidency” has been relocated to Kilrush from the Sweeney Memorial Library in Kilkee, where it had attracted hundreds of people since it went on display in June.

According to John Rattigan, curator of Clare Museum, “The exhibition’s move to Kilrush forms part of Clare Museum’s expansive outreach work programme. The programme is based on social inclusion and ensuring that everyone in County Clare is able to celebrate Clare’s rich and varied heritage. Although Clare Museum is based in Ennis, our countywide service has enabled the people of Ennis, Miltown Malbay, Shannon and Kilkee to visit the Dr Hillery exhibition on their doorstep”.

“Since the summer of 2000, Clare Museum has received in instalments a large collection of presentations and gifts made to Dr Patrick Hillery while carrying out his public duties during a politcal career which spanned from 1951 to 1990. These now form part of one of the most successful exhibitions ever hosted by the Clare Museum. Although space limitations mean that some artefacts cannot be displayed on this occasion, most of the objects can be viewed online at Kilrush Public Library, where there is free access to the Clare Museum website”, he added.

Mr Rattigan said that the booklet that accompanied the original exhibition has also been made available to members of the public in Kilrush.

Dr Hillery welcomed over a dozen heads of state to Ireland during his two terms of presidency. They included Francois Mitterand, president of France (1988), Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (1990) and His Holiness Pope John Paul II (1979). Today, Dr Hillery resides in Dublin with his wife Maeve.

The exhibition is now open to the public and can be viewed at Kilrush Public Library.

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