City councillor Mark Lohan is working with the City Heritage Officer and the National Museum of Ireland to bring 17 early 20th century prints of Menlo and Coolough villages back to Galway. The artworks are currently held in storage in the Museum of Country Life in Mayo and agreement is being made to commission copies and have the collection permanently displayed in Galway City.
Cllr Lohan stated these artworks provide an invaluable window into our heritage and social history in Galway.
“During the 1930s and 40s Swedish scholars of traditional architecture and their students travelled the country compiling examples of the local building styles and those who created them. The two villages on the edge of Galway city were both used as locations while the students attended the university college.
“While we prepare for our Capital of Culture year, it is right and fitting that these local historical treasures are put on display in Galway and find a year round home here”.
“I will work with the Residents Associations in both areas to see if we can display them at a local event and then house them permanently in our city museum or our public buildings for all Galway citizens to enjoy,” he added.
Cllr Lohan said that “we all share in Galway’s historic past and while the large moments of triumph and tragedy are the ones that grab headlines, the ordinary lives of those who came before us, living, loving, working and building the fabric of our community can be just as fascinating.” He added “it’s time for these artworks to be taken out of storage, where they have been carefully protected, and their prints brought home to Galway”
Professors Albert Nilsson and Ake Campbell were the first to systematically study the traditional Irish house and they compiled examples across counties Dublin, Galway, Waterford and Wexford.
The prints are beautifully drawn and illustrate ground plans, elevations and are done in pen, watercolour and crayon. One of the students involved in the project was Robin Walker, who went on to become a leading modernist architect designing such buildings are Busaras in Dublin city and the RTE buildings in Donnybrook.