19 December 2002 Edition

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Ambitious Republican History Museum underway

An ambitious plan to open an Irish Republican History Museum is well under way in the Conway Mill complex in West Belfast.

The idea to open the museum origniated in the 'Prisoners' Day' held in the Felons Club in West Belfast during the summer's Féile an Phobail, in which republican prison craft from the last 30 years or-so is annually put on display.

Former Armagh POW, Eileen Hickey, and her comrades have facilitated the display for the past 12 years, and somewhere along the line they thought that they would look for a site for an Irish Republican History Museum.

The management committee of Conway Mill offered the newly formed Irish Republican History Museum Committee the site of An tSean Mhuillean club, which had been unused for a number of years and in a bad state of disrepair.

The committee have done a great deal of the necessary refurbishment, but more is yet to come. So far they have gathered artefacts from the 40s and a priest donated two medals from the Tan War that belonged to a fellow priest from Waterford, Fr Tom O'Connor. The team also have an original memory card of Pádraig Pearse and an original copy of An Shan Van Vocht

They intend to use some space in the building for a library and video suite. "Our aims and objectives are to preserve and promote, through art, crafts and artifacts the history of the republican struggle for Irish Freedom. Our vision of the museum is to enable republican history to be told by republicans", Hickey told An Phoblacht.

Anyone wishing to donate should contact Eileen Hickey at the Irish Republican History Museum at Tar Anall, Conway Mill Complex, 5-7 Conway Street, Belfast, BT 13 2DE, or donations can be made to The Irish Republican History Museum, Northern Bank Twin Spires Branch, 155 Northumberland Street, Belfast, BT13 2JF: A/C No 81126083.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1