TWO MUSEUMS IN IRELAND: BEMUSED, UNAMUSED COMMENTS by Donal Kennedy


The Old Head of Kinsale Lusitania Museum Committee is planning to spend 4,000,000 Euro to build and equip a museum devoted to the ship which they now own.

The ship, whilst originally owned by the Cunard Line, was built with Admiralty funding when laissez – faire Capitalism was sacred dogma in Britain. It was believed at the time it was sunk that it was carrying munitions, and the German Consulate in New York, from which it had embarked had placed notices in American newspapers warning prospective passengers that it was considered a legitimate target.

When Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, a war planned since 1904 by the Committee of Imperial Defence, she swiftly swept German merchant and passenger ships from the world’s oceans. (And, following the Armistice of 1918 imposed a blockade on Germany’s Baltic ports and caused the famine which forced the Germans to capitulate and admit to crimes she had never committed.) The British also stopped and searched neutral shipping to reinforce their blockade, and confiscated any papers which contradicted British propaganda. Roger Casement challenged British propaganda, and the British Consul in Christiana (Oslo) paid money to have him murdered a year and half before F.E.Smith arranged it in London’s Old Bailey

The Germans had responded to Britain’s blockade by using submarines. 

The Lusitania lies in Irish territorial waters. It seems that the Irish government does not favour examination of its cargo. It might suggest to historically minded people that it is just as anxious as British propagandists to  letting LYING DOGS SLEEP.

COLLINS BARRACKS, DUBLIN formerly called THE ROYAL BARRACKS is huge. Built in 1703 it has two barrack squares, as against the usual one. It now houses most of THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND, funded by her citizens. Shortly after its evacuation by the British in 1922 it was renamed after Michael Collins who was elected to the First Dail Eireann in 1918 and elected for TWO constituencies for the Second Dail Eireann in 1921.

The Museum opened  an Exhibition with some fanfare earlier this year, and it was a half-page article in a national newspaper  that made Tony Canavan want to review it for “HISTORY IRELAND.”  The Exhibition was meant to commemorate the centenary Of Dail Eireann, and entitled  “Marching on the Road to Freedom: Dail Eireann 1919.”

On arriving at the Museum he found a display cabinet containing six artifacts, He comments (History Ireland July/August 2019) – “Now what is on display is of importance and is interesting, as far as it goes, but does it  do justice to the establishment of Dail Eireann in 1919?    This was a momentous moment in modern Irish history and in the historical context of emerging states in Europe at the end of the First World War. Does this event not deserve to be commemorated by our National Museum with something more than a single display cabinet?”

Tony Canavan is also my source for hearing of the Lusitania Museum. The comments are all mine.

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