Published in The Galway Advertiser, August 2011
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