Ballina is about to become home to Ireland’s newest world class cultural institution. Work is well under way on the refurbishment of the Thomas Manly Deane designed Provincial Bank on the town’s main street. Next year the stunning listed building will become the permanent base for Mayo County Council’s Jackie Clarke Collection, which will be one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. It is not surprising then that Ballina will be a focal point for Culture Night 2011, tonight September 23.
Mayo County Council’s Jackie Clarke Collection was amassed quietly and privately over a lifetime by the late Ballina businessman, Jackie Clarke. Containing more than 100,000 varied artefacts spanning a history of 400 years, it is now regarded as one of the most important Irish historical collections in the world. Jackie’s widow, Anne, has now gifted the collection in perpetuity to Mayo County Council for the enjoyment of the general public.
To celebrate this international attraction in the west of Ireland, Mayo County Council invites the public for a sneak preview of the Provincial Bank building and the Jackie Clarke Collection from 9.30pm tonight. The event, which is being called Back to Mayo celebrates the rich culture of Ireland and its Diaspora in the UK, the United States, and beyond. The show is being co-curated by Sean Walsh of Ballina Arts Centre in a unique collaborative exhibition for Culture Night. The partnership between the Jackie Clarke Collection and Ballina’s newly refurbished and redeveloped arts centre and 240 seater theatre gives an exciting and varied offering today with events from afternoon to midnight. Earlier today Ballina library will host a children’s Culture Night event. This Culture Night, don’t miss your chance to get a sneak preview of this landmark west of Ireland attraction.