The County Museum sheds light on Louth Olympians as new display opens

Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010 is the latest exhibition at the County Museum, and has received rave reviews from both the media and past atheletes alike

Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010 is the latest exhibition at the County Museum, and has received rave reviews from both the media and past atheletes alike

The exhibition charts the history of Irish representatiion at the games from its humble beginnings in 1896 to the current epic scale.

The exhibition has received approval from the Olympic Council of Ireland and is the only such exhibition being held in the country this summer.

The exhibition features contributions from many former Olympic competitors and their families, and Brian Walsh added a glimpse into an Ireland of years ago:

Last week Curator Brian Walsh spoke to both Ronnie Delaney and Maeve Kyle at the official opening.

“Speaking to Maeve Kyle, who was Ireland’s first female athlete, competing in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics was a real eye opener.

At that time female athletes were somewhat frowned upon and it was said that the Catholic Church had an extreme disapproval of such activities for women.

“However Maeve Kyle battled for her place in the Melbourne Olympics, and paved the way for athletes like Sonia O’Sullivan to follow. Speaking to her so many years later, she is still an inspiration for women.”

Well written accounts of the athletes exploits are accompanied by some fascinating artifacts such as the medals awarded to the Irish bicycle polo team at the 1908 Games; a menu from the banquet celebrating Pat O’Callaghan and Bob Tisdall’s success in 1932 signed by a range of Irish politicians; a whole plethora of Olympic blazers and tracksuits, ranging from designs by Dunnes Stores to John Rocha; and bobsleds and kayaks.

Gold medal winner Delany was glowing in his praise of Patriot Games: “It’s unique, there’s no such Olympic exhibition anywhere. The closest thing to it in terms of exhibitions is the GAA Museum in Croke Park, which incorporates a lot of Olympianism. In Olympic House in Howth there is quite a lot of memorabilia there.