A new exhibition celebrating the historic links between one of Mayo’s greatest patriots, Michael Davitt, and the Scottish football club, Glasgow Celtic, was officially opened at the Michael Davitt Museum in Straide last Friday.
The Minister of State with responsibility for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, joined the large attendance at the museum to cut the ribbon on the fascinating new exhibition.
Michael Davitt’s links to Glasgow Celtic go all the way back to the founding of the club.
Although he is more famous in Ireland for founding the Land League movement, a form of peaceful agrarian protest, which went on to inspire Mahatma Gandhi’s form of non-violent disobedience in the struggle for independence in British-ruled India, Davitt is also an important part of the history of Glasgow Celtic FC.
He was elected as the first patron of the club in 1889.
According to Yvonne Corcoran-Loftus of the Davitt museum, it is also possible that Straide’s most famous son strongly influenced the naming of Glasgow Celtic.
“It is believed by many that it was Michael Davitt who suggested the name ‘Celtic’ for the club to symbolize the close historical relationship between the Irish and the Scottish,” she pointed out.
In recognition of this, Glasgow Celtic has provided some exhibits for the new exhibition, including an 1888 and an 1892 Glasgow Celtic replica jersey and two jerseys worn in recent times by James Forrest and Joe Ledley.
One of the centrepieces of the new exhibition is a specially commissioned, marble, memorial plaque dedicated to Michael Davitt and his patronage of Glasgow Celtic.
The exhibition includes historical images of the Glasgow Celtic football grounds and club teams, bringing to life the formative days of an Irish club in Scotland which went on to have great success.
The exhibition is open to the public and includes a guided tour and audio visual presentation on Davitt’s career, and how the Land War, Home Rule, and Glasgow Celtic all intertwined in his life.
The Michael Davitt Museum is staffed by the Foxford Development Association and the Department of Social Protection.