New exhibit son show at Maritime Museum
IF anyone is any doubt about the rich diversity of Arklow’s maritime heritage, all they have to do is call into the museum in the Bridgewater Centre.
The latest recent acquisition is a set of signal flags donated by John Mahon of Oaklands, Arklow.
John is the grandson and biographer of Kate Tyrrell, and over the years he has donated several items from her schooner, the ‘Denbighshire Lass’.
In pre-radio days, signal flags were used as a means of communication between ships at sea and the shore.
Each letter of the alphabet was represented by a particular flag, as were the numbers 0 to 9. Other flags indicated that a ship was about to leave port or that there was sickness on board.
Along with the flags was a fid, a finely tapered wooden spike used in splicing ropes, which was also used on ‘Denbighshire Lass’.
‘We’re very lucky in the museum that we have such great support in the town’, said a museum spokesman. ‘In recent weeks we have received the telegram sent by Captain Jack Kenny to his wife in 1940 after he had survived a submarine attack on his ship which had been sunk, but thankfully there were no casualties on that occasion’.
Another very interesting and more off-beat item was donated to the museum by Patrick O’Neill, a St Kevin’s Terrace native and long- term resident of California.
‘Patsy was home recently and donated a baby’s cradle made of sail canvas. A wooden framework is being made so that the cradle can be shown to best advantage. It will be a star attraction in a display we are planning on the craft of the sail-maker – which was far more diverse than sewing sails.’
The museum is enjoying a great year. Visitor numbers are up and progress towards Heritage Council recognition as an accredited museum is well under way.
‘So far it is shaping up to be the best visitor figures on our records. Over the past 15 years we have had people from 42 different countries calling in to see us and everyone is amazed at the variety of artefacts on display. Local schools are also bringing kids along to look and learn. It has never been more popular.’
Arklow Maritime Museum is situated in the Bridgewater Centre and is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out the website Arklow Maritime & Heritage Museum.
John Mahon presents artefacts to Danny O’Neill, Chairman of Arklow Maritime Museum.