C: National Museum Ireland

Selection of crosses on display for special anniversary programme at National Museum of Ireland

A selection of 21 penal crosses, ranging from the early 18th to the middle of the 19th century, has been taken out of storage and put on temporary display until the end of October at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo. 

The display is part of Folk21, a year-long programme to mark the 21st anniversary of the Irish Folklife Collection at Turlough Park, Castlebar.

Penal crosses have been described as one of the few examples of Irish folk art. The crosses were likely carved and sold to pilgrims in the vicinity of Lough Derg, Co. Donegal. The dates carved onto the crosses recorded the year a pilgrimage was undertaken.

As they came into the National Museum of Ireland’s collections, the details for each cross were recorded on index cards and a selection of these cards is also on display.

C: National Museum Ireland

 

“Strictly speaking, they should be called penal crucifixes but as can be seen from the cards, even within the Museum, there were changes over time in the terminology used to describe these objects,” explained Clodagh Doyle, Keeper of the Irish Folklife Collection. “Although mistakenly thought to be associated with the Penal Law era, penal crosses was the term used in folk tradition. Today, due to research by A.T. Lucas, we could call them Lough Derg crucifixes, but we continue to use the term penal cross.”

Similarities can be seen in the inscriptions on the crosses. They also have certain symbols in common – although these are not always present in every instance. The symbols of the Passion of Christ that are usual include a ladder, a spear, a cock-in-a-pot, scourges, pincers, a hammer and three nails.

Ms Doyle said the Museum is delighted to display objects from the museum stores throughout 2022, as this is a significant year in the history of the National Museum of Ireland.

“We moved the Irish Folklife Collection objects into our new Mayo home 21 years ago this September, creating the only branch of the National Museum of Ireland outside of Dublin. Our museum storage is like an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures so throughout the year, we are taking out objects associated with each of the seasons. For autumn, we are displaying 21 penal crosses because this time of year was very much a time for pilgrimage, patterns (communal visits to holy sites) and prayer in folk tradition in Ireland. Many people went on pilgrimage to famous sites such as Croagh Patrick and Knock in Co. Mayo. The Lough Derg pilgrimage in Co. Donegal, where these crosses originated, was as internationally popular in Europe in medieval times, as Santiago de Compostela.”

 

The crosses will be on display until the end of October. They will be replaced with a selection of 21 storage vessels over the winter season to conclude the Folk21 programme.

The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life has welcomed more than 2 million visitors since opening its doors in 2001. Home to the Irish Folklife Collection, the Museum is located in Turlough Park, which was formally the home of the Fitzgerald family. Mayo County Council purchased Turlough Park House and gardens in 1991 and the site was then selected in 1995 for a new branch of the National Museum of Ireland to display the Irish Folklife Collection.

The OPW developed modern, award-winning exhibition galleries next to Turlough Park House and the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life opened to the public on 9 September 2001.

 

C: National Museum Ireland

 

 


 

Gheofar amach rogha mhaith cros a bhí á stóráil againn mar chuid den chlár speisialta na gCuimhneachán ag Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann – Saol na Tuaithe

Fuarthas amach rogha 21 crosa na bPéindlíthe ó thús an 18ú haois go dtí lár an 19ú haois a bhí á stóráil agus cuireadh ar thaispeántas sealadach iad go dtí deireadh mhí Dheireadh Fómhair ag Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann – Saol na Tuaithe, Páirc Thurlaigh, Caisleán an Bharraigh, Co. Mhaigh Eo.

Tá an taispeántas seo mar chuid de Folk21, clár bliana chun ceiliúradh 21 bliain de Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann a chomóradh ag Páirc Thurlaigh, Caisleán an Bharraigh.

Rinneadh cur síos ar chrosa na bPéindlíthe mar cheann den líon beag samplaí d’ealaíon dhúchasach na hÉireann. Is dócha gur snoiteadh agus gur díoladh iad i gcomharsanacht Loch Dearg, Co. Dhún na nGall. Léiríonn na dátaí a snoiteadh ar na crosa an bhliain ar tugadh faoin oilithreacht.

De réir mar a tháinig siad isteach i gcnuasaigh Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann, breacadh na sonraí maidir le gach cros síos ar chártaí innéacs agus cuirfear rogha na gcártaí seo ar thaispeántas chomh maith.

‘De réir na rialacha, ba cheart cros chéasta na bpéindlíthe an t-ainm a chur orthu ach mar is féidir a fheiceáil ar na cártaí, fiú laistigh den Mhúsaem, bhí athruithe i dtéarmeolaíocht in imeacht ama chun cur síos a dhéanamh ar na réada seo,’ a mhínigh Clodagh Doyle, Coimeádaí ar Chnuasach Bhéaloideas na hÉireann. ‘Cé gur síltear go raibh baint acu le ré na Péindlíthe agus bhí dul amú orthu, d’úsáidtí ‘crosa na bPéindlíthe’ mar théarma i seanchas na ndaoine. De bharr taighde a rinne A.T. Lucas ar an aimsir seo, d’fhéadfadh crosa céasta na bPéindlíthe, ach fós úsáidimid an téarma cros na bPéindlíthe.’

Is féidir le cosúlachtaí a fheiceáil sna hinscríbhinní ar na crosa. Tá siombail ar leith i bpáirt acu freisin – cé nach bhfaightear i gcónaí iad i ngach cás. Is iondúil a fhaightear na siombail de Pháis Chríost lena n-áirítear dréimire, sleá, coileach-i-bpota, sciúirsí, pionsúir, casúr agus trí thairne.

Dúirt Clodagh Doyle go raibh ríméad ar an Músaem na réada ó stórais an Mhúsaeim a thaispeáint i gcaitheamh na bliana 2022, toisc gur bhliain shuntasach i stair Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann í.

 

‘Bhogamar réada den Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann isteach inár dteach cónaithe nua Mhaigh Eo 21 bliain ó shin an Meán Fómhair seo agus chruthaíomar an t-aon bhrainse amháin d’Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann atá suite taobh amuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath. Tá ár stóras músaeim mar a bheadh taiscí Alaidín i gcaitheamh na bliana, agus bainfimid réada amach a bhaineann le gach ceann de na séasúir. Is san fhómhar a bheimid ag taispeáint 21 cros na bPéindlíthe toisc go raibh an tráth seo bliana le haghaidh oilithreacht, pátrúin (cuairteanna comhroinnte chuig suíomhanna naofa) agus guí i seanchas na ndaoine in Éirinn. Chuaigh go leor daoine ar oilithreacht chuig suíomhanna cáiliúla amhail Cruach Phádraig agus An Cnoc i gContae Mhaigh Eo. Ba é oilithreacht Loch Dearg i gContae Dhún na nGall, an áit a dtagann na crosa, chomh cháiliúil ar bhonn idirnáisiúnta san Eoraip i ré na meánaoise ná Santiago de Compostela.’

 

Beidh na crosa ar taispeáint go dtí deireadh mhí Dheireadh. Tiocfaidh rogha de 21 soitheach stórais in áit an cnuasach seo thar shéasúr an gheimhridh chun críoch a chur le clár Folk21.

Cuireadh Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann – Saol na Tuaithe fáilte roimh níos mó ná 2 mhilliún cuairteoirí ón am a osclaíodh a dhoirse in 2001. Is i dTeach Pháirc Thurlaigh atá an Músaem suite, teach a bhí mar theach cónaithe do mhuintir Mhic Gearailt tráth, agus is áit dhúchais sa lá atá inniu ann í do chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann. Cheannaigh Comhairle Chontae Mhaigh Eo Teach agus Gairdíní Pháirc Thurlaigh in 1991 agus roghnaíodh an suíomh in 1995 le haghaidh brainse nua a bhunú d’Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann chun Cnuasach Bhéaloideas na hÉireann a thaispeáint.

D’fhorbair Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí dánlanna taispeántais nua-aimseartha, a bhfuil duaiseanna buaite acu, taobh le Teach Pháirc Thurlaigh agus le hArd-Mhúsaem na hÉireann – Saol na Tuaithe, a bhfuil Bailiúchán Náisiúnta Shaol Tíre na hÉireann á choimeád agus ar taispeáint ann, a osclaíodh don phobal an 9 Meán Fómhair 2001.

 

C: National Museum Ireland

 

 

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