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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

Epic Ireland, Census, And Famine Pots

"If the King asks you to form a Government you say 'Yes' or 'No' not 'I'll let you know later' "
- Clement Attlee.

There has been a lot of “I’ll let you know later” going on since the end of February.

 Now, at the time of writing,
exactly nine weeks after our election
it appears that they are getting close to
cobbling together some sort
of a minority government.
And that able Kerry politician,
Michael Healy-Ray, is hotly tipped for
the position of Minister for Rural affairs.

      I spent last Sunday evening filling out a Census Form in which, it appeared, I had to give every detail about myself. Apart from my inside-leg measurement! (One letter-writer to a national newspaper suggested that the next census should include the question, “Have you been offended by any question in this census.”

In this year when Ireland as a country is commemorating the people who fought and died in the 1916 insurrection many other aspects of Irish history are being aired.

EPIC Ireland which is described as a “dramatic 21st Century visitor experience showcasing the unique journey of the Irish people around the world through the ages,” is centrally located in the vaults of the 1820 CHQ building. It has twenty one galleries, using cutting-edge interactive technologies which will enable visitors to explore the many tales of migration, the forces that have driven it, and the impact that it has had on the world. This is the authentic and epic story of 10 million journeys and the roots of 70 million people, told with memorable style and passion.

If you are in Dublin any time for EPIC Ireland must be included in your visit. It is located at the heart of Dublin, at Custom House Quay on the River Liffey, the original departure point for so many of Ireland’s emigrants. This is Ireland’s 21st century visitor experience, telling the story of 10 million journeys and the roots of 70 million people.

      Visitors will be taken on a journey that starts on the island of Ireland and ends with the global presence of the Irish today. The exhibition occupies over 40,000ft2 / 3,716m2 and is spread across the 21 galleries, and brings to life the story of Ireland’s communities overseas - past, present and future – in a way that is highly entertaining, engaging and educational. EPIC Ireland is a recommended first stop for visitors to Ireland as it captures an authentic and widely encompassing picture of the history of Ireland and the Irish nation. It acts as a ‘jumping off’ point for visitors and locals alike, suggesting onward connections to other centres and museums where visitors can follow-up particular areas of interest in more detail. Visitors begin their journey by receiving a stamped passport as they enter the exhibition. They will follow a path through the 21 remarkable galleries organised into four thematic groups,. This experience is an introduction to Ireland and the arrivals and departures that have shaped it, why people left Ireland and the stories of adventure and tragedy. Also the influence that Irish had overseas, and the extraordinary part they have played in their adopted homelands in politics, business, science, sport and the arts.

       Still on the subject of Irish history, Irish Famine Pots have brought out a documentary titled appropriately enough The Famine Pot which is now available on DVD. It tells the story of this grim period in our history. It includes footage of areas which were worst hit by An Gorta Mor and features interviews with historians, Professor Christine Kinealy, Rob Goodbody, Dr Ciaran Reilly, Sean Beattie, Rev. Jack Lamb, Dr Gearoid Moran and Colum Cronin. Matthew Jebb, director of the National Botanic Gardens gives a scientific account of the nature of the potato blight.

      The DVD is now available. Details and price from:

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