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Museum of Gaelic Culture


McGyver

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Feb 3, 2009
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Despite emigrating 3 months ago due to the Irish fiasco I still can not help but regularly read this website. Have been in Mexico City recently enjoying the anthropology museum. Made me wonder...

Why does Ireland not have a museum of Gaelic culture and civilisation that covers the history, language, development etc of the society from whenever the Gaelic invasion was through the different stages to the eventual collapse in 1601 to 1607 and then the history of the lingering decline since then. It could go through the celtic gods, mythology, place names, social structures, brethons etc. Local areas and the lingering prominence of certain names i.e. MacCarthy in Cork etc. Music, poetry and literature would of course be a major aspect

Most museums at the moment are a majority Anglo Irish approach that do not explain much of the indigenous culture pre English conquest.

I reckon it would be a great success and appeal to locals and holiday makers especially those tracing Irish roots. Germans of course would love it.

Shoot me down and tell me to go play some rugby.
 

Horace Horse

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Feb 4, 2009
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Excellent idea. Gaelic culture has been sickly for centuries. It survived, but there is no indication that it can survive the onslaught of the immigration of huge numbers of foreign settlers for whom Gaelic culture is as relevant as is Iroquois culture for the New Yorker. Your suggestion is therefore poignantly timely.

I have also always thought that a course for secondary school could be devised, covering the categories you mention. Right now schools pretend to teach Irish and students pretend (some don't even pretend) to learn it. It would be much better to scrap Irish for the hoi polloi, leaving it to an elite of maybe 10% who love the language.

The rest could learn mythology, folklore, dinnseanchas etc., thru English, obviously with constant references to the Irish language that underpins so much.
 

McGyver

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Feb 3, 2009
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Why dont you set it up yourself? Or at least start a blog or a website?
Unfortunately, do not have the time or inclination. Living abroad anyway. Really think it deserves an impressive centre. Probably should be in Dublin as that is the main population centre.

Really think most Irish folk have no idea what Gaelic culture is. It could be an excellent way to make the Northern Unionists happy too as it would highlight the Scottish and Manx elements.

My father in law is English. He is really into languages and can speak several including Russian. His friend was an Irish guy. He asked his young daughter can you speak any Irish. She said indeed I can. He said say something. She said "would you f#ing, f# off you gobsh#te f@er. Sad but acually true. Also pretty funny.
 

MauriceColgan

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Excellent idea. Strangely enough there was a BBC TV programme on the other night about how the Celts (Mainly Irish) had saved Western civilization after the Romans left Briton, which then was conquered again by northern European barbarians. The Angles etc.

Newgrange attracts huge numbers of foreigners just about all year round, yet my wife and I on our regular visits hardly ever hear a Dublin accent.

The Irish Times is susceptible to suggestions so a, Dear Madam........... from someone else rather than yours truly (I'm already pushing for other projects) might be published and help kick-start the idea.

All primary schoolchildren in Ireland should be introduced to the Newgrange visitors centre. A free double decker bus should be furnished by the state for said purpose.

http://www.newgrange.com/
 
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reknaw

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Jun 3, 2009
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Great idea, but it would have to be done properly, which means putting real resources, intellectual and material, into it.:)

I just hope it's nothing like the "Celtworld Experience" that was built in Tramore in the 1990s and has since - I think at least and certainly hope - died the death.:D

I'm sure some Americans lapped it up, but the place was, in the words of Fintan O'Toole, "an awesome combination of high tech and low kitsch".:roll:

Let's never go down that road again!:lol:
 
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shutuplaura

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Nov 1, 2008
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This place in Wexford certainly touches on many of the aspects that you mention, but doesn't of course deal exclusively with the Gaelic period.

Ah, here it is:

Irish National Heritage Park

I was there as a kid and really liked it, not sure what I'd make of it now.
 

MauriceColgan

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Newgrange to Loughcrew and on to Tulsk, then the Ceidie Fields in Mayo, the largest man-made structure in the world.
The spectacular fort on Aran more and and and ............ Maeves tomb sligo and and the massive standing stones everywhere!

Our ancient past is just waiting to be discovered by millions of cultural tourists from all over the world.
 

Horace Horse

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Feb 4, 2009
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Unfortunately, do not have the time or inclination. Living abroad anyway. Really think it deserves an impressive centre. Probably should be in Dublin as that is the main population centre.

Really think most Irish folk have no idea what Gaelic culture is. It could be an excellent way to make the Northern Unionists happy too as it would highlight the Scottish and Manx elements.

My father in law is English. He is really into languages and can speak several including Russian. His friend was an Irish guy. He asked his young daughter can you speak any Irish. She said indeed I can. He said say something. She said "would you f#ing, f# off you gobsh#te f@er. Sad but acually true. Also pretty funny.

Not funny.

Sad.
 

Tiernanator

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Jun 2, 2007
Messages
345
Newgrange to Loughcrew and on to Tulsk, then the Ceidie Fields in Mayo, the largest man-made structure in the world.
The spectacular fort on Aran more and and and ............ Maeves tomb sligo and and the massive standing stones everywhere!

Our ancient past is just waiting to be discovered by millions of cultural tourists from all over the world.
and the wonderful Grianan of Aileach way up north in Inis Eoghain. Really only a few miles from Derry city so if you want to visit both in one day can be done easily. The Tower museum in Derry covers the development of the city and it also includes the native Gaelic period.
 

MauriceColgan

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and the wonderful Grianan of Aileach way up north in Inis Eoghain. Really only a few miles from Derry city so if you want to visit both in one day can be done easily. The Tower museum in Derry covers the development of the city and it also includes the native Gaelic period.
Oh yes! and the wonderful views fron the ramparts. We were there after seeing the lovely memorial to Josef Locke in Derry a few years ago.
 

McGyver

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Feb 3, 2009
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Was having a think about this again today.I reckon the best place to build it would be at Tara. Reasonably central with clear cultural resonance. Other option would be to use the Collins Barracks site if can not get out of Dublin.
Would need to spend a lot to make this centre appealing i.e. it could be wonderful and a major attraction if done correctly. Newgrange draws large crowds and it is basically a cave. This centre nearby could act as a great day trip from Dublin.
Exhbits and rooms could cover following:
1. Arrival and pre existing peoples. i.e. Leabhar Gabhala Eireann. Would cover the Tuatha De Danann, Fir Bolg etc. Foreigners would find the history of leprechauns very interesting
2. Gaelic mythology. Some interactive stuff on all the Gods and there mystical powers i.e. Lugh of Long Hand etc. Tied in to mythical items such as Lia Fail. Would emphasis links across Gaelic world such as Stone of Scone in Scotland.
3. Classical stories i.e. Fenian cycle, Ulster cycle etc. Again lots of room for interacivity. Foreigners love Irish mythology. I once saw an Indian man reading a modern novel about Cuhullain on a train in London.
4. History of gaelic religion. i.e. celtic church, golden age, setting up of universities at Louvain etc. Try to get the Book of Kells and other similar books, chalices and altar pieces to this facility. You just have to see the queues outside Trinity to appreciate the demand for this stuff. The celtic cross is a very potent symbol and is recognised in most of the world (at least english speaking and developed).
5. Gaelic feasts etc, Samhain, Bealtaine etc. At Tara could reintroduce fire lighting at certain holidays. Would appeal to new age crew. Would also serve to reclaim Halloween for Ireland.
6. History of kingdom up to Brian Boru etc. It amazes me that we have a big Viking attraction in Dublin but none for the Gaels.
7. Regional kingdoms and families post Norman invasion up to Flight of Earls. Emmigrants are incredibly interested in where they come from. Could be broken down by Family name. i.e. MacCarthaigh get a room with all that concerns them i.e. great leaders, coronation rituals, books, poetry etc.
8. History of families post leaving Ireland. i.e. the history of the leading nobel families abroad i.e. O´Neill, O´Donnells etc. The Duque de Tetuan (in line to Spanish throne) and other foreign notables are always trying to revive their heritage but get knocked back by our government.
9. History of whiskey. Gives people chance to knock back a few.
10. Gaelic music and dancing. People love this stuff. Also helps after a few drops of whisky. Could have an auditorium or concert hall (prob. more effective in Dublin).
11. Library of literature and folklore.
12. Section on place names.
13. Section on Irish first and second names. This stuff arouses tremendous interest worldwide.
14. History of decline - perhaps could be tied to a new famine memorial etc
15. Status of language in modern Ireland. Link to a new language learning and research centre. Could move Foras na Gaeilge etc there. Lots of people are looking for facilities for language learning. This could provide them.
16. If people are ever serious about setting up an Irish language University - this place could be a good basis for it.
17. Section on placenames. Very interesting to many people

What do you reckon?
 

Ah Well

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Dec 18, 2008
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Newgrange to Loughcrew and on to Tulsk, then the Ceidie Fields in Mayo, the largest man-made structure in the world.
The spectacular fort on Aran more and and and ............ Maeves tomb sligo and and the massive standing stones everywhere!

Our ancient past is just waiting to be discovered by millions of cultural tourists from all over the world.

1. When P.ie Posters who overnighted on the Hill of Tara with their Dad for years and returned with their own kid recently for the same purpose only to be greeted by it being ring fenced with no access

2. When the M3 and Tara ... well that one is well known

3. When a fundamentally important Civil War Historical Site here in Cork is due to be bisected by a new Roadway with a reason given that "we can't re-reroute it" even tho they really could if they really wanted to - and Compulsory Purchase Orders are now underway so bye to parts of that too in time

Sorry for being so negative Maurice but as a lover of Irish History and even more so and particularly Archaeology for years, I've seen enough disregard and wanton destruction of our past, our heritage and our culture and particularly by the Gombeens in charge to expect anything overly positive

Our past even today is only being cared for by a few - most care none for it and that particularly manifested its ugly head in the greed of the celtic tiger times.

But thank heavens for those few - it's thanks to them we have something left to preserve and continuing
 

McGyver

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Feb 3, 2009
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Should the National Museum not be doing this? Doesn't the National Museum do it?

The collection is stunning, and its free to get in.

It should be doing this but doesn´t. There are a couple of small rooms with admitedly stunning artefacts. They make no attempt however to explain their cultural significance etc and certainly make no effort to explain Gaelic culture. The room is more a "treasure chest". I would say a fair number of people leave having no idea what culture produced it. I have a Greek friend (smart, Cambridge educated etc) who on leaving Ireland after a two week holiday did not recognise the word Gaelic and thought Irish language was merely an obscure English dialect. This view is widespread.
 
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Should the National Museum not be doing this? Doesn't the National Museum do it?

The collection is stunning, and its free to get in.
Museum's are not necessarily the best way to celebrate the history of Irish culture, or even preserve it for that manner. Most of the stuff is stored away in the basement and is not on public display. Prior to the collapse of the Gaelic Order, the treasures were kept by the people, primarily Clan chieftains and so forth, who kept them as a living culture, where people could view the artifacts of old when calling to the various fortresses of Ireland. While reawakening the essence of a Gaelic Ireland is a very worthy endeavour, I am not sure do we need another Museum to bring it to life. Newgrange and the Hill of Tara are two living treasures that you can go and visit and sense our history in the soil, as opposed to a few notes and gold ornaments you'd find in a museum.
 

McGyver

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Museum's are not necessarily the best way to celebrate the history of Irish culture, or even preserve it for that manner. Most of the stuff is stored away in the basement and is not on public display. Prior to the collapse of the Gaelic Order, the treasures were kept by the people, primarily Clan chieftains and so forth, who kept them as a living culture, where people could view the artifacts of old when calling to the various fortresses of Ireland. While reawakening the essence of a Gaelic Ireland is a very worthy endeavour, I am not sure do we need another Museum to bring it to life. Newgrange and the Hill of Tara are two living treasures that you can go and visit and sense our history in the soil, as opposed to a few notes and gold ornaments you'd find in a museum.
Think of it as a place to centralise and promote the culture. Hill of Tara for example obviously has very little significance for modern Ireland if we want to build a road through it. Information is there if you are prepared to look, research and hit the road yourself. Tourists generally are not prepared. Museums are if done correctly excellent ways to spread culture. You could argue that the Tate Modern in London is not needed as you can see all that stuff in books, on the internet etc. It still gets millions of curious, non specialist, passing interest visitors a year. It stokes their interest.

That is not too much to aim for.
 
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Think of it as a place to centralise and promote the culture. Hill of Tara for example obviously has very little significance for modern Ireland if we want to build a road through it. Information is there if you are prepared to look, research and hit the road yourself. Tourists generally are not prepared. Museums are if done correctly excellent ways to spread culture. You could argue that the Tate Modern in London is not needed as you can see all that stuff in books, on the internet etc. It still gets millions of curious, non specialist, passing interest visitors a year. It stokes their interest.

That is not too much to aim for.
Well it is, considering that the government went ahead and built a road through the Tara landscape and destroyed a hundred monuments in their path. Bringing the tourists to a Museum is like cloaking the issue with a decorative building. Most people who are serious about celebrating a Gaelic Ireland, believe its best to live it, rather than be herded through a museum that really only wants to generate revenue. Its not that appealing to have people glory in having visited a Gaelic Museum, when everything Gaelic is dead in their hearts. Tourism is not the way to celebrate or commemorate or record our ancient history. Just a personal opinion, but its far better to bring people to the sites and explain even vaguely what Ireland and Irishness is all about.
 

McGyver

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Feb 3, 2009
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So basically you reckon we should just carry on doing nothing and let stuff die off natuarally? A lot of museums are free. I find it weird that you would see a museum celebrating a great cultures heritage as a bad idea.

Anyway. Horses for courses and all that.

Do you think it is a negative idea or just not that positive?
 
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