Visitor number 1000,000 to the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life at Turlough, Castlebar, was Bernadette Ferreira, aged 3 years, who was visiting with her parents, Bernadette and Libanio, and her brothers Jerome (4) and Dominic (13 months). Bernadette and her family are from Derry.
Museum Staff were on hand to welcome the visitors and a presentation was made to Bernadette and her family to mark the occasion.
Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister for Tourism Culture and Sport today congratulated all involved with the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life on reaching a significant milestone of one million visitors. "This is a huge success for the museum in Connaught, and it is the only branch of NMI outside Dublin city and shows that having the right attractions in the most appropriate setting will prove hugely popular with tourists and Irish visitors alike."
The Minister continued, "The Museum of Country Life provides a wonderful opportunity to step back in to the rural way of times gone past. Showcasing as it does the beautiful, traditional costumes of the Islanders from our off shore islands on the most western part of Europe along with the primitive utensils used by farmers and farriers of the past all combine to make a visit to the Country Life Museum an educational must for people of all ages and traditions. This museum has gone from strength to strength and is very much a partnership from all involved. The fact that our cultural institutions are free to visit make them all popular attractions and offer visitors a very memorable experience"
Dr Patrick Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, commented, "This is a great achievement for the youngest of the four museums in the National Museum of Ireland family. It shows the central importance of the National Museum in the generation of tourist numbers, especially outside Dublin."
Tony Candon, Manager Keeper of the Museum of Country Life, said that staff in the Museum of Country Life were delighted. "The arrival of the one millionth visitor to the Museum is a major milestone for us. The fact that we have achieved this in less than nine years is also quite wonderful."
The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life opened officially on 10th September 2001.
The establishment of the Museum came about as a result of a fruitful collaboration between the NMI, the Office of Public Works and Mayo County Council, a collaboration that is still active. The beautiful gardens at Turlough Park are maintained by Mayo County Council and the small team of dedicated County Council staff take great pride in their work. Mr Candon expressed his gratitude and that of the Museum to the County Council. "We have always appreciated the goodwill and commitment of Mayo County Council to ensuring the success of the Museum of Country Life and I am very grateful to them for that," he said.
Mr Candon also praised all the staff at the Museum. "Everybody at the Museum takes great pride in its success. I include in this the staff of a number of private companies that work on site with us - G4S security staff, the staff of Brambles Café and Moore Cleaners, as well as the County Council staff. Their dedication to the highest quality of public service deserves to be recognised. Without it, we would not be where we are today, welcoming our one millionth visitor."