One man, 100,000 objects: The small Mayo museum that packs an enormous punch

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Jackie Clarke. Courtesy of the Jackie Clarke Assortment

The Jackie Clarke Assortment is housed throughout the outdated Provincial Financial institution constructing in Ballina, Co Mayo

A replica of the 1916 Proclamation on the Jackie Clarke Assortment. It’s saved inside an outdated financial institution vault.

Edel Golden searching the Jackie Clarke Assortment in Ballina, Co Mayo

Facsimilies of The Warfare Information. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

A 12-year outdated Jackie Clarke’s scrapbook. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

A replica of The Sunday Impartial from January eight, 1922.

A portion of Clarke’s assortment. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Clarke and his spouse, Anne. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Stacks of historic paperwork saved in brown paper parcels tie with tweed. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Clarke’s store in Ballina. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Pól Ó Conghaile

One man, 100,000 objects: The small Mayo museum that packs an enormous punch

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Ever heard of Jackie Clarke?

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Ever heard of Jackie Clarke?

He was a Ballina fishmonger with a knack for smoked salmon.

He was additionally an avid collector. The truth is, over his lifetime, Clarke amassed a trove of some 100,000 Irish historic artefacts, starting from handwritten letters by Michael Collins to one of many few surviving copies of the 1916 Proclamation (beneath).

Clarke saved his hoard within the residence he shared along with his spouse and 5 youngsters above the fish store, caching issues in nooks and crannies, cataloguing in his head.



A copy of the 1916 Proclamation at the Jackie Clarke Collection. It is stored inside an old bank vault.
A copy of the 1916 Proclamation at the Jackie Clarke Collection. It is stored inside an old bank vault.


A replica of the 1916 Proclamation on the Jackie Clarke Assortment. It’s saved inside an outdated financial institution vault.

The Jackie Clarke Assortment is housed throughout the outdated Provincial Financial institution constructing in Ballina, Co Mayo

Jackie Clarke. Courtesy of the Jackie Clarke Assortment

Facsimilies of The Warfare Information. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Edel Golden searching the Jackie Clarke Assortment in Ballina, Co Mayo

A 12-year outdated Jackie Clarke’s scrapbook. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

A replica of The Sunday Impartial from January eight, 1922.

Clarke and his spouse, Anne. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Stacks of historic paperwork saved in brown paper parcels tie with tweed. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Clarke’s store in Ballina. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

A portion of Clarke’s assortment. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Final week, I visited the Jackie Clarke Assortment (clarkecollection.ie; see galleries) – donated after his loss of life to Mayo County Council and now housed within the outdated Provincial Financial institution constructing on Pearse Road.

Right here, a style of Clarke’s treasure is specified by low-key, unshowy shows, from a small scrapbook begun as a 12-year-old to a poem in Thomas McDonagh’s hand – and that goosebump-inducing Proclamation, cleverly housed in a chunky financial institution vault.

Amidst the maps, paperwork and prints – most with a robust republican bent (a listing is now on-line) – you will additionally discover slightly ‘reminiscence room’ wherein guests can file tales of their very own.

The gathering might seem old-school and unremarkable. Nevertheless it’s a rabbit gap, catching you off-guard in the best way of different, off-radar gems just like the Little Museum of Dublin, No.14 Henrietta Road, or the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.



Clarke and his wife, Anne. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Collection
Clarke and his wife, Anne. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Collection


Clarke and his spouse, Anne. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Stacks of historic paperwork saved in brown paper parcels tie with tweed. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

A replica of the 1916 Proclamation on the Jackie Clarke Assortment. It’s saved inside an outdated financial institution vault.

The Jackie Clarke Assortment is housed throughout the outdated Provincial Financial institution constructing in Ballina, Co Mayo

A portion of Clarke’s assortment. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Clarke’s store in Ballina. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

A replica of The Sunday Impartial from January eight, 1922.

A 12-year outdated Jackie Clarke’s scrapbook. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

Facsimilies of The Warfare Information. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Edel Golden searching the Jackie Clarke Assortment in Ballina, Co Mayo

Jackie Clarke. Courtesy of the Jackie Clarke Assortment

Guests are gently guided right into a warren of peculiar tales… and Clarke’s is most shocking of all.

“What persons are actually desirous about is the story of a fishmonger who would not throw out a newspaper,” Edel Golden, the Assortment supervisor, advised me. “Annie [his wife] used to joke that he did not drink or smoke, that amassing was his vice.”

As we moseyed, I imagined the household dwelling among the many stacks of their residence… gobbling breakfasts inside a breath of Wolfe Tone’s cockade; sharing cups of tea a couple of steps from Douglas Hyde’s affirmation bible.

Fanciful ideas, possibly. However the intimacy started drawing me in.



Edel Golden browsing the Jackie Clarke Collection in Ballina, Co Mayo
Edel Golden browsing the Jackie Clarke Collection in Ballina, Co Mayo


Edel Golden searching the Jackie Clarke Assortment in Ballina, Co Mayo

The Jackie Clarke Assortment is housed throughout the outdated Provincial Financial institution constructing in Ballina, Co Mayo

Stacks of historic paperwork saved in brown paper parcels tie with tweed. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Clarke and his spouse, Anne. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Jackie Clarke. Courtesy of the Jackie Clarke Assortment

Facsimilies of The Warfare Information. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

A replica of the 1916 Proclamation on the Jackie Clarke Assortment. It’s saved inside an outdated financial institution vault.

A 12-year outdated Jackie Clarke’s scrapbook. Picture: Pól Ó Conghaile

A replica of The Sunday Impartial from January eight, 1922.

Clarke’s store in Ballina. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

A portion of Clarke’s assortment. Courtesy: Jackie Clarke Assortment

Each nation wants its Nationwide Museums and galleries of scale. However there’s one thing seductive about these smaller, unofficial areas that have interaction us as human beings.

Jackie Clarke’s assortment goes down “the byways and bothareens of Irish life”, as one commentator put it.

“It is form of like a historical past from the underside up,” Golden mused.

In an age of screens and data overload, it felt warmly nostalgic to pore over precise handwriting, to catch the whiff of yellowing paper, to narrate to Ballina’s quirky ‘salmon of information’, and wonder if one man might apply himself on this obsessive, magpie-like manner, as we speak.

In 2019, the place would you even start?

Weekend Journal

 

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