Lots in Store at the Clare Museum

Clare Champion, Friday, July 21st, 2006

The latest exhibition to go on display at the Clare Museum in Ennis is indeed close to the heart of museum curator John Rattigan. The exhibition, titled "What's in Store" consists of a selection of objects donated to the museum over the last five years. The objects displayed in this very special exhibition are the curator's own choice from the museum's storerooms. And this eclectic selection of artefacts that are not usually in the public eye are personal favourites of Mr. Rattigan.

"The exhibition is a personal selection of artefacts that have come into the museum since we opened. They range in date from pre-historic tiimes right up to the 1980s", explained Mr. Rattigan. One of the oldest objects featured in the exhibition is a bronze axehead uncovered by James Marrinan, a local farmer, during field drainage operations near Miltown Malbay. The axe dates from the Bronze Age and is of the looped and socketed type. There are several other archaeological artefacts that could also have been chosen but the axe is one of the few small enough to fit in the showcase explained Mr. Rattigan.

An enigmatic hurling ball from Mullagh in West Clare dating back to the 19th Century also sparks interest. "Analysis by the state laboratory in 1996 revealed that the surface of the ball consists mainly of a bone and glue of animal origin but it is unique as it is seamless and one of a kind. I think it is particularly interesting that it was found in West Clare, which is associated more with football than hurling", said Mr. Rattigan.

Also in the display is a collection of letters written by Patrick Hennessy, an anti-treaty IRA volunteer, who was executed during the Civil War at Limerick Gaol. The first letter received was donated by a family in Dublin with strong West Clare connections. It was photographed and the image placed on the Internet.

"I was amazed when we received emails fron New York, California and Australia from people with similar letters by Hennessy who had found our photographed letter on the website and I am keen to show them together for the first time", said Mr. Rattigan.

Other exhibits include an Indenture from Kilrush, a stone age axe from Doolin, a banner from 1914 commemorating the Battle of Ramellies and letters from Michael Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell. The collection will be displayed in showcases dispersed through the first floor gallery at the museum and will run until mid-August.

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