(A series of posts leading up to/including The Nocturnes Photo Tour in the West of Ireland, July 15-25, 2013)
Thru the New York Times, this St. Patrick's Day, came news from Ballina (up in Mayo) of an astounding collection of Irish history.
Jackie Clarke (1927-2000) could be dismissed (and probably was) by some, as a bit of a "packrat" - but this much is clear now: This is an amazing collection of Irish documents and artifacts; some dating back to the 1700s, others reflecting the everyday life of the Irish in this remote part of Ireland, in the 20th Century.
Included are some of the icons of Irish Republicanism and the fight for Independence, such as one of the few remaining original copies of the Easter 1916 Proclamation (Irish: Forógra na Poblachta), or the 'cockade' worn by Wolfe Tone in 1798 (Year of the French).
"To understand Jackie Clarke you must first understand County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. It is a landscape both inviting and forbidding, one of serene greens and rocky grays, megalithic tombs and medieval abbeys, famine roads, mystical mountains and the violent sea — all combining to assert the lingering presence of what has come before.
'You’re so close to the past all the time,' Ms. McCoole said."
(From the NY Times article by Dan Barry)
The Jackie Clarke Collection opens in April, housed in a landmark 1882 bank building on Pearse Street in Jackie's beloved Ballina.
We hope to book an "historical extension" to our trip to Ireland in July to see the Collection - sounds fascinating, and Ballina is where my roots are in Ireland!