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A Trek through Time Exhibition- Donegal County Archives Touring Exhibition

A Trek through Time Images from Donegal County Archives: An Exhibition  

Taispeántas: Turas tríd an stair : Íomhánna as Cartlann Contae Dhún na nGall

 

What is the Exhibition about?

This colourful exhibition curated by Donegal County  Archives (The Archives Service of Donegal County Council) is a touring exhibition consisting of 12 pull up stands, each based on a collection or theme strongly represented in the County Archives collection. These are: Arts & the Archives; Donegal Grand Jury; The Railways of Co. Donegal; Schools & Schooling in Co. Donegal; The Joseph Murray Collection; The Workhouses of Donegal; The GAA in Co. Donegal; Exotic and Eccentric Donegal; Donegal Archives of Emigration; Maps of Donegal; Elections & the Electorate; Ladies of Donegal.

 

View the exhibition in English or Irish below:

 

Trek through Time Exhibition in English

 

Turas trĂ­d an stair as Gaeilge

 

Summary of the Exhibition

 

The exhibition explores many of the themes and historical events of significance from the past 250 years in County Donegal through original archives such as photographs, letters, posters, official documents, public notices, flyers, maps, plans, memos, notes and newspaper articles, all from the Donegal County Archives Collection. The purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the variety of interesting and attractive archival collections held by the service and to introduce archival material to as wide an audience as possible, including interested researchers, local people, heritage and history groups, teachers and students and visitors to the county. It aims to increase awareness of local archives and local history and demonstrate their inherent value.  

The exhibition is freely available for heritage centres, libraries, public service centres, museums, community centres etc., and there are two sets, one in English and one in Irish.

For more information, please contact the Archives Service, 074 91 72490 or archivist@donegalcoco.ie

 

To view some of the images from the Exhibition go to : www.facebook.com/DonegalCountyArchives

 

A Trek through Time Exhibition on display

A Trek through Time: Images from Donegal County Archives

Turas tríd an stair : Íomhánna as Cartlann Contae Dhún na nGall

 

Donegal County Archives  (The Archives Service of Donegal County Council) is currently touring its major new exhibition, which focuses on images and stories from Co. Donegal’s history, as reflected in some of its major Archives collections.

 

The exhibition consists of twelve panels, each highlighting one of the Archives’ myriad collections or a theme strongly represented in the collections. These are: Arts & the Archives; Donegal Grand Jury; The Railways of Co. Donegal; Schools & Schooling in Co. Donegal; The Joseph Murray Collection; The Workhouses of Donegal; The GAA in Co. Donegal; Exotic and Eccentric Donegal; Donegal Archives of Emigration; Maps of Donegal; Elections & the Electorate; Ladies of Donegal.

The exhibition explores many of the historical events and themes of the past 250 years in County Donegal through original archives such as photographs, letters, posters, official documents, public notices, flyers, maps, diaries, plans, memos and drawings, all from the Donegal County Archives Collection.

The purpose of the exhibition is to showcase the variety of interesting and attractive archival collections held and to introduce archival material to as wide an audience as possible, including historical researchers, heritage and history groups, teachers and students and visitors to the county. It aims to increase awareness of local archives and local history and demonstrate their inherent value.

It is important to note that the twelve panels of the exhibition do not represent all of the themes reflected in the collections of Donegal County Archives. The panels are however indicative of many of those themes that are historically important and of widespread interest today in the study of the county’s history and culture.

One would not perhaps necessarily associate the Archives with the world of art and literature.  Yet the Arts and the Archives and Ladies of Donegal panels include beautiful and imaginative works of art, from a handwritten 19th Valentine’s Day poem, original annotated sheet music (some of it over 150 years old),  comic verse, poems by famous writers including Patrick MacGill, cartoons, nature studies, and ‘drawing room’ sketches.

Significant moments in our national and local  history are marked in some of the panels. The 1804 map of St Patrick’s Purgatory reflects Donegal’s history as a place of pilgrimage (Maps of Donegal).  The sketch of Fr James McFadden’s trial for the murder of  Constable William Martin in 1889 brings this fascinating true story from west Donegal’s past to life  (Exotic & Eccentric Donegal). A photo taken in 1899 of the last Donegal Grand Jury outside County House in Lifford is symbolic of a historic shift in power as the more democratically elected local authorities replaced a body comprising wealthy landowners that year (Donegal Grand Jury). An image of soldiers training in Finner Camp as World War I commences in 1914 reminds us of a more recent landmark historic period. The panel Elections & the Electorate displays the names of some of the first women allowed to vote. Joseph Murray attained the rank of Vice-Brigadier of the Fourth Brigade, South East Donegal, First Northern Division, during the War of Independence. The Joseph Murray panel includes correspondence such as a letter from a political prisoner in Finner Camp in 1922. A 1922 ‘Border Pass’ document  allowing the Boyd ladies access from Strabane to Lifford seems especially significant to the border county of Donegal today. A. M. Davies’ striking black and white photographs of the last years of the Donegal Railways bear testimony to the widespread reach and importance of the county’s rail network over the course of a century and to the sadness with which their decline and eventual demise was met.

The social and economic history of the county is well represented in this exhibition in several panels. An 1834 Marriage Settlement of Miss Mary Susanna Young in 1834 is symbolic of both the privileged status and restricted rights of  19th century women from the landowning classes (Ladies of Co. Donegal).  The professionally taken portraits of the ‘ladies’ of Convoy and Castlegrove can be contrasted with the early 20th century photographs of school children and of the ‘Master’ and children outside Letterkenny workhouse -  stark reminders of the poverty prevalent in the county at this time (Schools and The Workhouses of Donegal).  On the other hand, items such as an 1887 Stranorlar public health inspection report, 1908 labourers’ cottages plans and the 1920 Vaccination Notice are reminders of ongoing valiant efforts to improve the lives of the working and labouring classes. An important part of social and cultural history is sport. The GAA in Co. Donegal photographs of county matches and a 2012 ticket for Donegal’s historic All-Ireland Championship football  victory reflect the extent and ‌significance of our sporting heritage.

 

Trek through Time exhibition Gweedore 1

Above: Leabharlann Phobail Ghoath Dobhair

 

The poignancy of archives relating to personal lives is evident in several panels.  Included is a moving request for a blanket from a former inmate of Letterkenny workhouse, Peter Crosley, in 1865. He asserts that he had worked very hard while resident in the workhouse and states : ‘I have nothing to cover me at night’, His request is ‘disallowed’ by Letterkenny Board of Guardians. The Donegal Archives of Emigration panel includes a mid 19th century letter from a homesick emigrant.  ‘I am very lonely and I would like to see you all’, was James Clarke’s simple but heartbreaking message to his mother.  Joseph Murray’s personal testimonies and his teaching and military service certificates indicate how one person’s life can be a rich tapestry of diverse stories, sometimes heroic moments and life changing events. The photograph of the Harbison family tourists  in 1892 suggests the growing attraction of Donegal as a tourist destination towards the turn of the century, while demonstrating the increasing modernisation of society as men and women toured together on bicycles.

The exhibition is available in both languages to community groups, heritage centres, libraries and public service centres.

For more information on the content of the exhibition please contact

  
Niamh Brennan, Archivist,
Archives Service, Donegal County Council,
Three Rivers Centre, Lifford,  County Donegal
Tel: +353 74 9172490
E-Mail: archivist@donegalcoco.ie
Website:http://www.donegalcoco.ie/culture/archives/

www.facebook.com/DonegalCountyArchives

 

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