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One Year On... Since Re-Opened National Maritime Museum

6th June 2013
One Year On... Since Re-Opened National Maritime Museum

#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

 

Published in Coastal Notes
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

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In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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