Arts: Georgian Pop-Up Museum – Limerick’s Oldest Home Exhibition

It’s not often my husband comes home wanting to visit a museum, but that is indeed what happened last week, when he read in the local paper of a pop-up museum in Limerick’s oldest home.

No. 55 Rutland Street was built circa 1760 as one of the first grand merchants’ homes opposite the Custom House (now the Hunt Museum). Over the years it became a cutlers, then a butchers, and was almost knocked to the ground during the boom to make way for a Celtic-Tiger style shopping centre.

Luckily, it survived and has been brought to life by a team of hugely dedicated amateur and professional historians, with voluntary assistance from the community in the shape of painters, DIY-enthusiasts and collectors of antiquities.

The team are running an open house all day Saturday and Sunday with appointments Wednesday evening, until the end of the summer. It’s free, and provides an absolutely fascinating insight into Limerick’s background.PicMonkey Collage

For example, I had no idea that the great wartime poet Siegfried Sassoon (If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath /I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base / And speed glum heroes up the line to death)  spent time at Limerick’s military barracks. Or that huge tracts of land around Limerick city were granted to a landowner as a reward for having served dutifully as an aid to ‘royal excretion’ (yes, it is what it sounds like) to the infamous Henry VIII.

Listening to the highly personable Cait and her equally engaging colleagues regale us with historical tidbits about our city was a breath of fresh air and a hugely enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

In order to preserve these buildings and their histories for future generations, we have to work together to persuade the local authorities of their importance to our society. The best way to do this is to visit them, learn about them and engage with the people who are passionate about making sure their two hundred and fifty year old stories are heard.

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