O’Donohoe Exhibition Opens Up Local History Debates

History, they say, is a thing of the past but in Castleisland on Saturday, it was very much a thing of the present and, indeed, the future as people from as far afield as Los Angeles visited the town for the opening of the first exhibition of the archive of the late Michael O’Donohoe.

Report and photographs: Janet Murphy – Project manager.

The exhibition, ‘From Mind to Hand’, which numbers among hundreds of National Heritage Week events taking place around the country, includes a display of material held in the collection, photographs and a reconstruction of The Master’s Corner.

Like Froude’s Seat at Derreen in Kenmare, this was the place where Michael spent many hours writing his meticulous notes on the history of the locality and beyond.  A specially made film documenting moments in the life of Michael O’Donohoe as remembered by family and friends is also included in the exhibition.

The opening on Saturday included an RTE Radio One broadcast of Dan Kearney’s first documentary, Once Were Champions and Dan Kearney was present to talk and answer questions on it and discuss the era of 1985, the subject of his research.

Local historian Timothy Murphy presented A Time when our Town was Full of Intriguing Characters, an entertaining and informative lecture on the life of Con Houlihan.

Interest in the exhibition was strong and some visitors brought not just stories but their own photographs and letters which was a wonderful demonstration of the importance of local heritage.

Michael O’Donohoe’s sister, Breda Brooks, to whom the committee of the Michael O’Donohoe Memorial Heritage Project owe a debt of gratitude for protecting and handing over the collection to its care, also called in and for those fortunate enough to be present, recalled moments in the life of her late brother, in particular his sporting life, that were relished by all.

Tomo Burke has also taken a hands-on approach and gone that extra mile in providing accommodation and shelter for the work on the collection and the facilities for the exhibition.

The exhibition will run again on this Saturday 29th August at 32 Main Street, Castleisland. Visitors are welcome any time between the hours of 11am. and 5pm.