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Museum of Country Life : Older Events - Archive Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Temporary Exhibitions at the Museum of Country Life
By Bernie Byron
30, Oct 2005 - 14:22

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An exciting temporary exhibition worth visiting at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Re-trace , by Margo McNulty.
6th April 2006 - 14th May 2006

Margo McNulty's subject is history and she focuses on the lives of people in the past. The artist makes images in response to museum objects that created resonance in her personal history. The exhibition features mixed media including etchings, etched copper and lambda prints.

Older Exhibitions


A striking new exhibition has opened to the public in the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Sponges and Transfers features a selection of transfer and spongeware mugs - those large pottery mugs used up to not so long ago, in every house in the country. The mugs were acquired by the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in 2004. 
The collection makes a colourful display of bright designs either transferred on to the earthenware both inside and out, or applied with a natural sponge.   The designs are all simple, reflecting the forms of the mugs themselves.  Cows drinking water from a stream, a stag and a doe set in a mountain scene, sketches of hens, song birds and peacocks, in addition to simple geometric patterns representing floral and foliage forms.  All feature to give the mugs an appealing and pleasing appearance.  A contrast display of large blue transfer patterned plates and platters complements the exhibition of mugs.

The spongeware mugs became closely associated with country potteries in Scotland in the early decades of the 19th century, especially those in Bo'ness, Kirkcaldy, Greenock and Glasgow.  The Staffordshire potteries were producing the ware in the middle of the 19th century; the Belleek pottery in county Fermanagh manufactured a certain amount for a number of years in the latter half of the 19th century; Arklow pottery in county Wicklow made mugs in bold and bright spongeware patterns in the early decades of the 20th century.

Families and schools are encouraged to come along and participate in the extensive free education programme, which will be run by the Education and Outreach Department to coincide with the exhibition.  All events are free of charge and are suitable for ages 7+. Booking for events is required in advance as places are limited.

Family Programme
Sunday 8th January: 2.30-3.30pm
Tour & Workshop
Look at the techniques and designs on these popular household objects. Decorate your own ceramic piece with Tom Doyle of the Education & Outreach Department. 

Wednesday 11th January : 2.30-3.30pm
Tour of these recent additions to the Museum's collections.  The patterns are colourful and the display reflects their influences from nature and landscapes.

Schools' Programme
Tuesday 7th& Wednesday 8th February : 10.00am & 11.30am      
Tour & Workshop
Look at the techniques and designs on these popular household objects. Decorate your own ceramic piece with members of the Education & Outreach Dept.

Religion and Magic - Objects associated with popular belief and practice: 20 May – 23 October 2005

What have the famous Irish goalie Packie Bonner, the world-renowned Antarctic explorer Tom Crean and the Black Bell of St. Patrick to do with the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life's new temporary exhibition? Gartan clay, the scapular and the cure for rheumatism.....

The true extent of people's faith in sources of extra protection as they carried out their daily activities will shortly be revealed in a new exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Religion and Magic -  Objects Associated with Popular Belief and Practice opens to the public on Saturday 21 May 2005 and will run until 23 October 2005.

In the 1988 European Championship match against England in Stuttgart the Irish soccer team wore Gartan clay in their boots...
Tom Crean was never without his scapular...
All new roads and bridges in Ireland are blessed with water at their official opening...
The Black Bell of St. Patrick was used to cure rheumatism
Do you keep a religious object or lucky charm on your person, in your home or in your car?

Before scientific discovery and the spread of knowledge through education, our early ancestors were no less curious than we are and they looked for answers to life's mysteries.  This exhibition looks at some of the ways in an Irish context in which understanding was found. 

Religion probably began as an attempt by our ancestors to explain the natural world. Magic may be seen as an expression of our confidence to dominate the natural world.  Religion and magic contain elements of the miraculous and both require belief to be effective.  We invite you to journey around this exhibition and see the strength of traditional belief in a selection of objects of different materials which, people believed, had the power to effect change and provide protection.

A key feature of the exhibition will be the Clog Dubh Phádraig - the Black Bell of St. Patrick (600-900 AD)  - the venerated relic which has close associations with Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo.

The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life opened in September 2001. Visitors to this award-winning Museum's Exhibition Galleries are invited to experience the story of Irish country life between 1850 and 1950 through the innovative combination of artefacts and displays, archival video footage and interactive screens. The exhibition consists of a wide range of artefacts dealing with agriculture, fishing and hunting, clothing and textiles, furniture and fittings, trades and crafts, transport, calendar customs, leisure and religion.

For further information please contact the Marketing Dept.

Tel: 094 90 31773; Mobile: 087 7987 439; fax: 094 90 31583;

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Older Events - Archive
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Science Week at the Museum
Museum of Country Life June 2008
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Schedule of Events For Week 29th March - 2nd April 2006
Nicholas Mosse Lecture
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Programme of Events November and December 2005
Temporary Exhibitions at the Museum of Country Life
Museum Programme May 2005
Turlough Museum Participates in Open Week Programme Council of National Cultural Institutions (CNCI)
National Museum of Ireland, Country Life - 9 to 13 June