Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Galway City Museum

Published in The Galway Advertiser, August 2011

Dear editor,

A recent visit to the city museum proved to be a disappointment. Despite being open for some time now it is still very much devoid of artefacts.
The museum seems to have decided on selective history. Nothing is mentioned of Galway’s early Christian settlements, the battle of Knockdoe, a significant battle of the 16th century or Galway’s role in the Spanish Armada.
While it is admirable homage is paid to Galwegians who fought for the British Empire, the Republican tradition has been airbrushed out of existence. Liam Mellows for example does not get a mention. Nor indeed does the War of Independence. Is it not possible for the two traditions to coexist?
Although a fishing vessel hangs from the ceiling there is little to explain the long maritime tradition associated with the city. Both the Famine and the Claddagh are ignored. Although Padraic O Conaire is acknowledged other Galway writers such as Mairtin O Cadhain, Lady Augusta Gregory, Liam O'Flaherty and Walter Macken do not seem to merit any attention.
It is also hard to decide whether the building is an art museum with a few historical artefacts or a museum with a few paintings. Given the unusually large cafe it would appear that it also a general place of gathering. While the building serves a multitude of purposes its primary function, that of a museum, must be called into question.
The long and vibrant history of the city is quite simply not fully reflected with what is on display and Galway surely deserves better.
Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill
Mountjoy Square
Dublin 1

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Martin McGuinness as a presidential candidate

As a regular visitor to Northern Ireland I admire the way they have put the past behind them and embraced a present where Protestant and Catholic work together. The sanctimonious outrage expressed against McGuinness in the Republic, which was largely spared the horrors of the conflict, seems therefore all the more out of place.
McGuinness was a gunman like so many of our patriots who turned to politics. He embraced the peace process, became a major contributor towards peace and stability on this island and more importantly publicly condemned Real IRA atrocities, yet his critics here are still at war, obsessessed with the way he was, ignoring the way he is.
In 2016 we will commemerate and honour the men of violence and it is perhaps apt that we have a former man of violence to lead these commerations.

Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill