Irish French exhibition launched in National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Turlough in association the French Embassy in Ireland is delighted to present 1689 - 2012, The Irish and France: Three Centuries of Military Relations, an exhibition originally produced by Musée de l’Armée, Paris (the Army Museum, Paris ).

Coinciding with the exhibition is a summer family festival celebrating the Year of the French. In Humbert's Footsteps in Castlebar and Killala, Co Mayo (August 15-18 ) is set to be the family festival and Gathering event of the summer. It's a three day extravaganza with an impressive programme of family friendly events in a carnival atmosphere and most of it is completely free. In Humbert's Footsteps celebrates the historic landing of the French army under General Humbert in 1798. Festival events follow Humbert's footsteps from landing at Kilcummin through to the Battle of Killala, Lahardane and on to the Races of Castlebar.

A highlight of the exhibition at the Museum of Country Life will be the display of The Ramillies Flag which is on loan from Kylemore Abbey. This flag was captured at the Battle of Ramillies (in Belgium ) in 1709 by Lord Clare’s Irish Brigade.

This exhibition shows Irish and French military co-operation since the 17th century. From the Wild Geese to World War I to Samuel Beckett’s time in the French resistance, to the close Irish-French military links today, the exhibition retraces the history of the close relations between the Irish and France. Its showing in Mayo coincides with In Humbert’s Footsteps, the General Humbert commemorative Gathering event which will take place in Killala, Castlebar, and Lahardane this August.

Covering the period 1689 to 2012, including the Irish Wild Geese regiments which fought in the service of France in the 17th and 18th centuries, Napoléon’s Irish Legion, the exhibition goes right up to the present day. One of the descendants of the Wild Geese, Patrice MacMahon, became president of the Third French Republic in 1873 and from him the salad dressing ‘mayonnaise’ was named! The exhibition also covers the role of Irish men and women in World War I and World War II – in particular Samuel Beckett’s involvement in the French resistance. The exhibition concludes with the story of the most recent co-operation between the French and Irish army in missions under international umbrellas such as the EUFOR mission in Chad and the UN in Lebanon.

The exhibition will run until September 29 .

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