National Treasures project needs objects from Mayo to tell the story of Ireland over the last hundred years

Public history project National Treasures is calling on the people of Mayo to submit their treasured objects to help tell the story of Irish life over the past 100 years. RTÉ and the National Museum of Ireland are currently working together to create National Treasures, a unique archive documenting how Ireland has developed using ordinary objects treasured by families across the 32 counties.

The aim is to gather objects from every county, passed down through generations or relatively recently acquired, which reveal an aspect of the nation’s history, culture, and experience.

Currently, the project is specifically looking for objects from Mayo that tell the story of the Maritime County since 1917. Whether it’s an airline ticket from Knock Airport from the year it opened or a programme from the ‘51 Mayo win, a dusty set of bagpipes from Achill or election posters of Padraig Flynn, they want to hear from you.

A nationwide project, National Treasures recognises the significant contribution made by all counties to the story of modern Ireland. Some counties have already responded to the call in big numbers and now National Treasures is calling on the people of Mayo to ensure that their homeplace is represented in this unique archive.

In October, four public roadshows will take place across the country where curators will inspect the objects in person and assess whether they merit becoming 'national treasures'. As well as submitting their object online, people from Mayo are encouraged to attend the Connacht roadshow which will take place in the Raddison Blu Hotel in Galway on October 8. A four-part television series based around the roadshows, presented by John Creedon, will follow next year.

John Creedon said: “The project has got off to a great start and we have already received hundreds of objects. Regionally however some areas are still underrepresented and we specifically need the people of Mayo to come forward and submit their own fantastic objects. Like most Irish people, I have a profound sense of place and a genuine curiosity about my own people. At the moment I feel like a child in a sweet shop, as I just know that the bottom drawers, attics, and garden sheds of Ireland are about to open and reveal so much more to delight those of us who love Ireland and her story.”

The project has launched a website, www.nationaltreasures.ie, where people can add their object and tell their story. They can also browse the fascinating objects that have already been submitted.

National Treasures is produced by El Zorrero Films (Man on Bridge ) for RTÉ in association with the National Museum of Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Following the National Treasures television series on RTÉ One, the public will then have an opportunity to view the objects in person at a special exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Turlough Park, Castlebar. People with objects which tell the story of Ireland and specifically Mayo, should log on to www.nationaltreasures.ie to submit their item and find out more about the project.

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