The Riches of Clare

Banner Ad Mag, Wednesday, June 9, 2004

The Riches of Clare, its people, its places, treasures occupies two galleries of the Clare Museum. The displays have been designed to have a wide visitor appeal and comprise a large loan of artifacts of Clare provenance from the National Museum of Ireland, the de Valera Museum Collection.

The galleries incorporate the traditional method of displaying original artifacts with modern interpretative tools such as colourful display panels, audio visual and computer interactive presentations, models, some replicas and specially commissioned art pieces. All show cases have been specifically designed with their contents in mind and environmentally conditioned to the requirements of the artifacts displayed in them.

The concept of the exhibition is thematic, focusing on the lives and experiences of the people of Clare through the themes of Earth, Power, Faith, Water and Energy.

Earth: The Riches of Clare

The close link between earth, the seasons and agriculture with their influence on the development of the landscape over the centuries is explored. Geology and early farming is examined in the first section of the exhibition, with excavated material from Roughan Hill. The exhibition continues with a display of later farming and other implements near a reconstructed hearth scene. The hearth was a centre of story telling and a Clare folktale can be heard in this section.

Power: The Riches of Clare

This section deals with the symbols of power to be found in the county. In Clare these range from the dramatic Mooghaun hillfort to the numerous castles and towerhouses in the county. Land is one of the most important sources of power and here the major influences of control over land are examined. The influence of the O’Briens and the emergence of Eamon de Valera as a political figure is also dealt with here.

Faith: The Riches of Clare

Clare is a county with close links to water. The concept of the River Shannon and Atlantic Ocean combining to turn Clare almost into an island is explored broadly in this section. This water has influenced the settlement of the county, in Clare the relationship between people and the environment. Throughout time water has been used by Clare people for travel, transport, food, pleasure, and sacred purposes.

Energy: The Riches of Clare

This section explores the energy of the people of Clare as expressed by their musical and sporting achievements. The famous West Clare Railway is remembered, while the energy of modern Ennis is captured with the Ennis Information Age Town interactive.

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