#OneYearOn – The National Maritime Museum of Ireland in Dun Laoghaire yesterday celebrated its first anniversary after last year's 'official' re-opening ceremony by President Michael D. Higgins following a €4m renovation, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Earlier this year the museum which is run by the Maritime Institute of Ireland were delighted to receive an award from the Industrial Heritage Association for 'Best Museum / Restored Site 2012'.
Among the most popular exhibits is the old optic of the Baily Lighthouse, Captain Halpin and the Great Eastern and the story of the RMS Leinster torpedoed on the Kish Bank. For more abou the exhibits visit the Video Virtual tour click HERE noting to click on map to begin. Better still make a visit to the museum in person!.. which is open 11am-5pm everyday until the end of July.
Currently on is display is the 'Bratacha Flags & Emblems Exhibition' which certainly adds a splash of colour with many nations represented amongst the museums existing shipping company house-flags that are draped around the contrasting dark timbered balcony.
Originally the building completed in 1836 was home to the Church of Ireland Mariners Church built of granite quarried from Dalkey that of course built the nearby harbour. The museums exhibits are surrounded by beautiful stained glass windows and the timber ceiling.
Such surroundings make a visit apt considering the building with its past to worshipping mariners is one of the last such structures left in the world.
The restored museum featured in a lavishly illustrated publication 'NEW LIFE for Churches in Ireland – Good Practice in Conversion and Reuse' which is available for sale in the museum's Gift Shop. Also stocked are a wide range of nautical-related merchandise including framed print scenes of the harbour, greeting cards and much more.
There's also a café serving hot snacks and where stain-glass windows which were also installed during the renovation plus a Wi-Fi hot-spot. Noting, the museum is mostly wheelchair accessible.
There are plans to reintroduce the library with its impressive range of historical books including the Lloyds Register of Shipping collection in the Lawlor Room, named after Col. Anthony Lawlor, the founder of the Maritime Institute of Ireland (M.I.I.) in 1941.
Another notable leading figure of the institute, was the late Dr. John de Courcy Ireland, who was widely regarded as the father of Maritime Ireland.
A group of volunteers from the institute as well as a team funded by the Community Employment Scheme of the Department of Social Protection provide staff duties that include guided group tours.
The museum welcomes new volunteers, so if can you assist in any way?... even if it's just a few hours a week call the museum on (01) 2800 969. For further information visit: www.mariner.ie