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'Come Back to Erin'

An exciting exhibition featuring a selection of 20th century travel and tourism posters will open on 25th June (Thursday) at the National Museum Ireland -- Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin. The exhibition is entitled Come Back to Erin and will run until 23 August 2009. Originally developed by the branch at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Co. Mayo, this exhibition has now travelled to the National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks. Several new acquisitions not seen in the original exhibition will be on show.

It features a selection of strikingly colourful travel and tourism posters spanning the decades from 1908 to the 1970s. This was a period when mass tourism began to develop and also represented a period of great growth in the advertising and marketing industry. Some of the poster images by the Irish artist Paul Henry in particular became best sellers even in the 1920s and became essential images of Ireland and traded internationally.

Dr Séamas Mac Philib, Exhibition Curator at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life said “The exhibition focuses on some of the prime examples of Irish poster art. Famous Irish tourist locations like Killarney, Connemara, Glendalough appear and Dublin too is well represented. Other images are not place-specific but feature familiar scenes of upland well-proportioned landscapes, big skies, lakes and coasts. Of course there are also stereotypical Irish images of thatched houses, ruins, round towers, jaunting cars and friendly natives. The aim was to create an attractive marketing image, presenting Ireland as happily old fashioned, but which could be visited by the most modern means of travel”

Our Education Department will run a number of engaging events to coincide with the exhibition, including a special event on Saturday 18th July with a talk given by the curator of the exhibition, Séamas Mac Philib and a screening of archival films, courtesy of the Irish Film Institute. All events are fee and no booking is required.

Admission to all exhibitions at the National Museums of Ireland are FREE

For further press information please contact:

Maureen Gaule

Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 – 6486429 Mobile 087 2819420

Initially Irish and British railway companies commissioned the posters. These included CIE and its predecessor Great Southern Railways, and also British Railways and its predecessors. After World War II, airlines such as Aer Lingus, TWA and American Airlines began to issue posters about Ireland as an important part of their marketing campaigns. Irish tourist boards also began to promote Ireland north and south and there is an interesting use of symbolic and stereotypical imagery as well as turn of phrase. This will be of interest to those interested in marketing and advertising, not to mention history and politics.

Opening Times Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm. Sunday 2.00pm – 5.00pm Closed Monday (Incl Bank Holiday’s)

Adult Events

Saturday 11th July: 12pm

Adult Gallery Talk ‘Trains, Travel and Tourists: Leisure in early 20th Century Ireland’

Talk with Angela Mehegan, IT Sligo, in the AV Lecture Theatre and ‘Come Back to Erin’ exhibition.

Saturday 18th July: 12pm

‘Come Back to Erin: Curator’s Talk

‘Come Back to Erin: the travel poster collection of the National Museum of Ireland’ by Dr Séamas Mac Philib curator of the exhibition. This talk offers a special insight into the exhibition and a closer look at these striking posters.

Saturday 18th July: 2.30pm

‘Come Back to Erin: Film Screenings in partnership with the Irish Film Institute.

Preserved by the Irish Film Archieve of the IFI they were originally designed to promote Ireland as a travel destination from all around the globe. The films date from the 1940s to the 1970s and show how different facets of Irish Society were emphasised to appeal to different target groups. The films will be co-presented by Dr Harvey O’Brien, lecturer at UCD and author of The Reel of Ireland: The Evolution of Ireland in Documentary Film and Sunniva O’Flynn, Curator Irish Film Institute.

Saturday 8th August: 12pm

Adult Gallery Talk. ‘Ireland Welcomes You. Irish Tourism Posters

Talk with Dr Lind King, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, in the AV Lecture Theatre and ‘Come Back to Erin’ exhibition.

Family Events

Sunday 19th July: 3pm

My Museum Musical Postcards

Music workshop with traditional accordionist Martin Tourish. Explore the exhibition through music and join in the tuneful fun with thanks to Music Network. Age 5+

Wednesday 22nd July: 2pm

‘Imaged Places’ Summer Workshop: Symbols of Ireland

Join Geralyn White and explore the museum gallerie, looking for the symbols of Ireland, their meanings and origins, and then create a symbol of your own. Age 7+

Wednesday 29th July: 2pm

‘Imaged Places’ Summer Workshop: Wish You Were Here…

Visit the ‘Come Back to Erin’ exhibition and desing a poster to advertise your own neighbourhood, town or city as a holiday destination with Mary Greene. Age 7+

Wednesday 5th August: 2pm

‘Imaged Places’ Summer Exhibitions: The Giants Causeway and the Legend of Fionn Mac Cumhaill

Hear the story of the great Irish Hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill and learn the legend of how the Giant’s Causeway came to be. Then create your own magical story about the places you know. Age 4-9

Wednesday 12th August: 2pm

‘Imaged Places’ Summer Workshop: Summer Souvenirs

Join Aisling Lavery in a handling Session looking at holiday souvenirs then creat your own holiday souvenir and crest. Age 7+

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