Tuesday, 24 August 2010


The Cork Public Museum, sometimes called Cork City Museum, in Fitzgerald Park is well and truly up and running again after last winter’s flood damage.
Called there today to see the Traveller Visibility Group Exhibition which was due to open at 10.00am (according to the Cork City Event Guide for National Heritage Week) and that meant a waste of some time as the Museum doesn't open until 11.00am. Bet you wish you could get a job like that!
And you do need time here as, between the permanent displays and the temporary shows, there is so much to see.
You can see displays on the city’s sports heroes, Roy Keane and Christy Ring among them, on the role of the corporation, the various wars (including the Emergency), the Fashions, Cork Silver and Glass, the International Exhibition of 1902, the last tube made in Dunlop’s along with a run through of the area from pre-history right up to the present, replicas of the Cross of Cong and the Cross of Cloyne along with some medieval artefacts and also some ancient stones with ogham script.
Here too you’ll learn that a meat market was once called a “Shambles” and much much more, including the story of the Aloys Fleischmann family, told through photos and mementoes.
The display I came to see, The Traveller Visibility Group Exhibition, was upstairs. Highlights include the Barrel Top Wagon and the Black and White Phony (his hide made up of hundreds of black and white photos of travellers) and the Copper Craft project by the Ennis Travellers. Putting all this together was a learning experience for the travellers, viewing it was a learning experience for me.
Dachau is mentioned downstairs in the Fleischmann exhibition and, upstairs, you may see a collection of paintings from the Dachau Art Gallery permanent collection. During the 19th century, artists were drawn to Dachau by the beautiful moorland scenery. Many settled in the town, and it soon became an artists' colony. Captivated by the subtle nuances of colour and light of the Dachau countryside, they took their canvases out into the open – ushering in the era of painting en plein air.
Taking painting outdoors meant a shift from the darker canvasses to much lighter and this is easily seen here, in the Schleißheimer Canal by Toni Binder (1868-1944) for example. Really interesting show and there is a decent leaflet on hand to guide you through. Just be sure and leave it there afterwards for the rest of us!
I must admit I spent just well over an hour here and that was nowhere near enough. I’ll have to go back.
Tel+ 353 21 4270679
Photos, from top: the museum, new wing on left; Michael Collins features inside and outside, and the recently made Barrel Top Wagon

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