CHAS History Project Winners

On Wednesday 27th March 2019 the  Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society held their annual History Project Competition. Entries were received from primary school children all across County Carlow.

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Pictured L-R: Pat O’ Neill, President of CHAS; Reuben McCarthy (Third Prize); Kate Somers (First Prize); Kevin McKeon (Second Prize); and Richard Codd, CHAS Committee Member, and Chair of Judging Committee.

First prize was awarded to Kate Somers from Ballon National School, with an outstanding project on St. Columbanus.

Second prize went to Kevin McKeon from Carlow National School for his excellent work on William Dargan.

Third prize was collected by Reuben McCarthy from Scoil Pádraig Naofa, Tullow, for his splendid project on John Tyndall.

The children were recognised and awarded for their work at a special event in Carlow County Museum, attended by their family, friends, and teachers.

All the projects are on display in Carlow County Museum for the public to see.

Well done to all for their incredible work! Carlow won’t be in short supply for future historians!

 

Some of Kate Somers excellent work on St. Columbanus of Bobbio blew the judges away. You can read more about the saint here.

 

Kevin McKeon produced amazing work on William Dargan and his contributions to Irelands railways. 

 

Reuben McCarthy amazed the judges with his knowledge of John Tyndall.

Carlow and the Oscars

This Sunday will see the 91st Academy Awards aka The Oscars, and Carlow has more Oscar connections than you might think. Let’s take a closer look at some of Carlow’s Oscar Contenders in the lead up to the big night…

 

Saoirse Ronan

So let’s start with the most obvious – Saoirse Ronan. Raised in Carlow, Ronan attended Ardattin National School and when she was just 13 years old she was nominated for her first Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress) for her role in ‘Atonement‘ in 2008.

Ronan has been nominated twice since – in 2016 for ‘Brooklyn‘ (Best Actress) and in 2018 for ‘Lady Bird‘ (Best Actress).

three images of saoirse ronan in formal wear attending the oscars

Saoirse Ronan at the Academy Awards the years she was nominated.

GB Shaw

Next on our list is GB Shaw, the first person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award (Bob Dylan is the only other person who has won both). Shaw wrote many plays over the course of his lifetime, and his play ‘Pygmalion‘ was adapted into a screenplay – twice!

The first was in 1938 when ‘Pygmalion’ was remade for the silver screen, and Shaw won an Oscar for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay‘.

Then in 1964 ‘Pygmalion’ was adapted again, this time retitled as ‘My Fair Lady‘. This film became an awards juggernaut – it was nominated for 12 Oscars and won 8, including ‘Best Picture‘. The film was nominated for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ but unfortunately didn’t win this time around!

GB Shaw’s mother, Lucinda Gurly, was from Carlow and Shaw donated various properties to Carlow for the benefit of Carlow people. The George Bernard Shaw Theatre in Carlow is named in his honour.

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The posters for ‘Pygmalion’ (1938) and ‘My Fair Lady’ (1964).

Granny O’ Grimm

Kathleen O’ Rourke from Ballyhide, Carlow, was the writer and voice of ‘Granny O’ Grimm‘, a short animated film about Granny O’Grimm, a seemingly sweet old lady who loses the plot as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty to her terrified grandchild.

‘Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty’ received an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Animated Short Film‘ at the 2008 Academy Awards.

Kathleen very kindly donated some items from her trip to the Oscars, and they are on display in the museum in our “Arts and Entertainment” display.

Granny O’ Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – created by Brown Bag Films.

 

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Primary School Artists celebrate St Willibrord’s life

In celebration of the Feast of St Willibrord, Patron Saint of Luxembourg and his Co Carlow connection the Right Reverend Michael Burrows, Bishop of Ossory, Cashel, Ferns, Lismore, Waterford and Leighlin along with the Most Reverend Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin invited 5th and 6th class pupils in primary schools in Co. Carlow to take part in an art competition.

Tuesday last, the winners of the competition gathered in Carlow County Museum, with their proud parents to accept their plaques and a class arts supply voucher from Bishop Burrows, Bishop Nulty and Cllr. Fergal Browne, Chair of Carlow County Museum.

First place went to Hannah Kehoe 6th Class Borris N.S., second place to Zach Cassells 6th Class, Carlow N. S. and joint third place to Kacper Gniedziejko 6th Class, Scoil Molaise and Catelyn James Gibbons 6th Class, St Mary’s N. S. Continue reading

‘Granny’s Christmas Pudding’ by Katherine Anne Monica McGill.

In our first blog of 2015 Katherine Anne Monica McGill outlines her project ‘Granny’s Christmas Pudding’, an installation that took place in Carlow County Museum from February to July 2014. It was previously part of a series of installations by Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) students in Visual Carlow in December 2013.

 

Granny’s Christmas Pudding’ installation of White table with several items on it including two glass boxes containing leaves and an open notebooks and pen between them

View of the ‘Granny’s Christmas Pudding’ installation on the Museum’s ground floor.

 

‘Granny’s Christmas Pudding’ was an installation acknowledging obsolete and disappearing information and skills.  Our modern world has superseded a lot of the old ways; others are lost to us now because people – like my Granny – have gone to their eternal reward.  Such people took with them the expertise they carried so easily at their finger-tips.  With the flippancy of youth, I omitted to garner such skills before it was too late, and now I do my best to recall them from hazy childhood memory.  I imagine this is a common experience, as applicable to other people as it is to me.

 

Ground floor of Carlow County Museum with two glass display cases or Vitrines

View of the installation on the Museum’s ground floor gallery.

 

The installation itself comprised fallen leaves I collected in Autumn 2013 from beneath the trees at Carlow College (St Patrick’s College) in Carlow town, and a notebook in which I wrote the information in “joined up” handwriting.  I used an old fountain pen and ink.  It remains with Carlow County Museum for future reference. Visitors were encouraged to collaborate in the display by including in the note book any disappearing skills they recalled.  Using Gregg shorthand (itself also a disappearing skill), I wrote various data on the leaves.  Older people might remember learning this by rote in their primary school days. Younger people might be intrigued to re-discover it. Included, for example, are old conversion tables of weights and measures.  These now seem so quaint: quarts, minims, bushels, perches, roods and leagues; old legal tender (pounds, shillings and pence), Morse code (long and short sound signals representing letters and numbers), some poetry, and commonplace prayers in Latin.  This project augmented my own knowledge: how to bone shoes was definitely new to me!

Most important of all, I discovered that Carlow people of a certain age remember with affection drinking Corcoran’s Mineral Waters, so I particularly appealed for anyone who might know the recipes or their whereabouts to include this in the notebook.

 

A close up photo of brown leaves with writing on them, Granny Christmas pudding

Close up of the writing on the leaves.

 

Why write on leaves?  Because they naturally become brittle and disintegrate, so the skills and information the leaves carried are once again apparently lost.  The project also echoed papyrus (another plant leaf) used by ancient peoples to record their important information.  Even though the information has been decoded, some of it is still obtuse to us today.

On the last day of July 2014, when the New Year’s leaves were fluttering on the trees at Carlow College, members of Carlow County Museum kindly agreed to crumble the leaves of the installation at Carlow College grounds.  The process was recorded by Museum staff.  It was a fitting end to a display inaugurated in February.

 

Dermot Mulligan and John McDarby standing under a tree in Carlow College with their hands in the air throwing leaves on the ground

Carlow County Museum staff Dermot Mulligan & John McDarby crumbling the leaves in the grounds of Carlow College.

 

My heartfelt thanks are given to Dermot Mulligan, Museum Curator and the staff of Carlow County Museum for their enthusiasm for my installation; to Cora Cummins, Print Tutor at IADT Dun Laoghaire and Emma Lucy O’Brien of Visual Carlow for their initial invitation to consider a Carlow project.  Visual Carlow is thanked for lending some equipment.  The visitors to Carlow County Museum are especially thanked for their many contributions to the notebook.  Thirty pages of responses exceeded my most optimistic expectations.  I hope they enjoyed their visits to this wonderful Museum and their collaboration.

And what of Corcoran’s Mineral Waters?  All is not lost, apparently.  Unlike my Granny’s Christmas pudding, it seems there is yet someone in Carlow who may hold the precious knowledge.  Perhaps some day soon people will be able to say with relish again “Ah, Corcoran’s!”

Katherine Anne Monica McGill under took this installation as a 3rd year student on the Visual Arts Practice course in Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT). The aim of this four-year course is to educate and inspire student artists through an integrated and multidisciplinary experience, helping them to create a comprehensive portfolio of work, tested against ‘real world’ situations. Carlow County Museum was delighted to host Katherine’s work.

 

Five Carlow County Museum staffs and Volunteers standing in front of a big glass display case holding leaves in their hands

Museum Staff and volunteers with Katherine at the instillation of the exhibition. (L to R) Brid Brett, Liam O’Rourke, Katherine Anne Monica McGill, Deirdre Hennessy and William Fallon.

 

‘Sojourn’ a visual art exhibition among Museum displays

Saidhbhín Gibson outlines her project ‘Sojourn’; a solo exhibition that took place in Carlow County Museum in June 2013. It was launched during Éigse Carlow Arts Festival and supported by Carlow Arts Office.

Interior image of Carlow County Museum, which includes a large bell, a Pulpit and Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Comfort and Joy’

Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Comfort and Joy’, 2013 located in the Museum’s first floor gallery

 

The exhibition ‘Sojourn’ was the outcome of a longstanding interest to exhibit a body of work in a museum context. This project was installed among the displays at Carlow County Museum creating a trail through the building offering carefully planned juxtapositions between the artworks and the museum’s historical artefacts.

One such piece in the exhibition was ‘Merit’. It was placed amid the Museum’s ‘Mike – the man of the Rás’73’ display. It contained a lively, rotund lichen (Usneas subfloridana) atop one end of a speckled tree bark. At the other end there was a brightly coloured insignia, similar to that which features on certificates. This circular shape mirrored the form of the organic matter while also linking in with the brightly coloured cycling jerseys featured in the museum’s exhibition. The artwork suggested a celebratory status of the organic matter.

Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Merit’, tree bark with lichen and yellow piece of paper , abstract art

Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Merit’, 2013 located in the Museum’s temporary exhibition gallery.

 

‘Lichen gilt’ was another piece in the exhibition that contained similar collected material but of a different species and format. The edge of a decoratively printed saucer was adorned with a Candelaria concolor lichen. The small organic matter contained a number of colours and gave the impression it had been hand painted onto the pottery. The piece was fittingly displayed on a dresser in the museum’s kitchen installation. Many of the pieces in the exhibition brought the outdoors inside to inhabit our surrounds and indeed, be viewed along side the preserved and protected.

Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Lichen gilt’, 2013, ceramic plate edged with lichen in Carlow County Museum

Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Lichen gilt’, 2013 located in the Museum’s ground floor gallery.

 

Saidhbhín Gibson: 'Chuck’ a white frame with a smaller photo frame of a brown bird in Carlow County Museum

Saidhbhín Gibson: ‘Chuck’, 2013 located in the Museum’s ground floor gallery.