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Museum of Country Life : Temporary Exhibitions Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Religion and Magic - Exhibition
By Bernie Byron
23, Oct 2005 - 08:20

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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 is 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 opened to the public on Saturday 21 May 2005 and now runs until 20 November 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.
Museum Shop and Café are open during Museum hours. All Museum buildings are wheelchair accessible.
Admission to the Museum and exhibition is free.
Opening times: Tues- Saturday: 10am - 5pm. Sunday: 2-5pm. Closed Monday.

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