Keepers of the Gael is a new, multi-media exhibition now open at the Galway City Museum.
The exhibition explores aspects of Gaelic culture and society in Ireland through the lens of the learned families of historians, lawyers, physicians, poets and musicians who served Gaelic and English ruling families in Ireland between AD1200 and 1600. As hereditary keepers of the arats, learned families framed the worldview of Gaelic peoples.
The multi-media exhibition includes a range of artefacts, images and interactives that highlight the reputed origins of the Gael, their customs and cultural practices, the territories, landscapes and settlements in which they lived their lives, their relationship with the sea and with the Church, and the influential roles the Gaelic arts and their practitioners played in society.
The theme has relevance for contemporary society, showing how Gaelic peoples understood and projected themselves, how they were viewed and understood by others, and how their sense of self was transformed over time.
Eithne Verling, museum director, says this new exhibition is full of fascinating information and displays a great richness of objects, ideas and art.
"We live in an era when cultural and ethnic identities are being contested, threatened and reasserted worldwide. This exhibition aims to demonstrate, through views of the Gael, that the past can enlighten some of the critical issues of human identity in our contemporary world; who we are, or who we think we are is complex and mutable, and lies at the heart of this exhibition."
Professor Elizabeth Fitzpatrick of NUIG, exhibition guest curator says: "The human concern with uniqueness is a contemporary issue in society, with a long history.
“ This exhibition theme looks at Gaelic identity on this island as a contribution to understanding who we are."