IT IS NEWLY STRUNG AND SHALL BE HEARD

 

MUSEUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It was always been a long held aspiration of the Society to develop a museum for all the artefacts, pictures and books donated to us over many years. Although not possible when in the ‘Wee Club’ in Corrib Avenue, the additional space in Moyard House was ideal for this purpose.


However, it was not until 2000 that Pat McArdle co-ordinated a project to establish the museum in the Peggy Berkley Room. Initial structural work involved removing walls and doors, building cabinets and display cases and locating them in the new museum room.


The next stage was collating and cataloguing all the artefacts, many of which were donated by patrons of the Society and ex-POWs. This was a painstaking task as up until that time, no-one had any idea as to the volume of material collected over the previous twenty years.


The number of visitors since the museum officially opened keeps growing year on year. They come from all parts of Ireland, Europe and the USA. The museum is mentioned on web site links and figures in ‘What to See’ guides of Belfast. The guest book below gives an indication as to the number of visitors regularly coming to the museum.

 

With its growing popularity and reputation for looking after donated material, many priceless artefacts have been donated. Sculptures, paintings, handicrafts and important relics from the past are some of the categories on display in the museum.


It is important to mention that the Roddy McCorley museum curator is only managing the care of the artefacts and their display, ownership is still vested with the donator.

The ethos of republicanism permeates the museum and its many visitors are struck by the atmosphere created by the numerous pictures and paintings of republican heroes as well as the many memorial plaques and murals, commemorating republican dead from this campaign.


The museum holds many traditional and contemporary works by male and female ex POW’s from Long Kesh and Armagh jails, highlighting the significant role of women in the Republican struggle. An original Long Kesh bed and authentic blanket are major attractions for visitors.


All of the artefacts in the museum articulate the ‘other’ side of life in the jails, the side that lifted the prisoners’ spirits and gave them a means to manifest their Republican principles in artwork, crafts, prose and poetry.


Centre-stage are original Irish Volunteer and Cumann Na mBan uniforms dating back to the early 1920’s. Advice was sought from the Ulster Museum curator as to best practice in the management and care of these priceless articles. This approach again demonstrates the steps taken to ensure the long term viability of displaying items of value and sentiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Future for the Museum


The work of cataloguing and displaying the physical memorabilia continues to develop and the physical limitations of display and storage space are ever present.


Technological advances have enabled the Society to compile a DVD history of the formation of the Society from 1972. The story is told by the people that were actively involved in the formation and development of the Society. It is a fundamental element in formulating an Audio-Visual historical collection of differing aspects of the recent struggle for Irish Freedom.

The museum has been a great success for the Roddy McCorley Society. It ties up the ethos of its republicanism in a transparent way and is perhaps the best indicator of the Society’s success from 1972, in its traditions, in its members and its place within Society.

 

 

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