Matthews Auctioneers to sell important Arthur Quinlan Collection

More than 170 lots from the important Arthur Quinlan collection will be auctioned by Matthews auctioneers of Oldcastle, Co Meath, next week.

Arthur Quinlan (1921-2012 ), was an Irish Times reporter who retired at age 87. Ireland’s longest serving journalist, he covered Shannon Airport and the Mid-Western District. For more than 50 years he reported on Shannon's momentous, sometimes tragic, events, and interviewed many international figures who passed through the airport when it was a compulsory stop-over into Europe.

Hollywood stars including Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, and Marlene Dietrich, every North American President from Harry S Truman to George Bush, Russian leaders, European royalty including Princess Margaret and the Duke of Edinburgh, future popes, and international musicians were photographed and interviewed by Quinlan as they quietly passed through Ireland, some becoming personal friends.

Quinlan, truly an international journalist, was a conduit to the world from his Shannon base at a time when communications were not as they are now.

An unlikely visitor who stayed and enjoyed Quinlan's hospitality was the Marxist revolutionary hero Che Guevara (1928 - 1967 ), who discussed with him his Irish ancestry. Others included Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962 ), Yehudi Menuhin OM, KBE (1916 - 1999 ), Vivien Leigh (1913 - 1967 ), and Susan Hayward (1917 - 1975 ). Quinlan sent his dispatches to the four corners of the globe via Reuters, United Press International, AP, and myriad broadcasting organisations. Quinlan covered the homecoming visit of President John F Kennedy to Ireland in 1963 and, later the same year, his assassination. In 1967, as representative of European journalists, he placed a wreath on Kennedy's grave in Arlington Cemetery.

A fascinating and generous man, Arthur Quinlan was one of the few who interviewed Captain Charles Lindbergh shortly after the fatal kidnapping of his young son. Captain Lindbergh opened up to Quinlan in an interview which had editors worldwide shouting "hold the front page".

A master at executing international scoops, on hearing Air Force One was due to make a confidential stopover at Shannon with the then president Bush on board (via his close contacts with the ‘on the ground' Shannon staff ), Quinlan drove to the airport in the small hours of the morning in the hope of getting an interview. Bush, who was not due to leave the plane, decided to visit duty free at 4am. Quinlan, for his perseverance and gentle approach, got an important interview regarding Bush’s thinking on the Middle East and the fast approaching Gulf War.

Among the lots on sale at the Matthews auction on October 28 will be antiques, original photographs and files, and silver. The collection includes a rare 1960s recording chronometer wristwatch est €250 - €350 and a small library of Irish, aviation, and other interest books, totalling approximately 250 volumes.

The auction will include some 600 lots of antiques, mirrors, crystal and porcelain, Irish art, jewellery, rugs, etc, including more than 170 items from the Arthur Quinlan collection.

The auction will take place at 6.30pm on October 28 in the Matthews auction rooms in Oldcastle, Co Meath.

The fully illustrated catalogue for this auction can be viewed online at www.matthewsauctionrooms.com For more information contact Matthews auctioneers at 049 8550055.

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