New ex­hibit son show at Mar­itime Mu­seum

Bray People - - NEWS -

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.

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