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Folklife Stores at Daingean

Find out about the Irish Folklife collections store in Daingean, Co. Offaly

The Irish Folklife Division holds part of its collections at a museum storage facility in St. Conleth's Reformatory School, or the Daingean Reformatory, in Co. Offaly.

Interior of Daingean stores in Offaly

Originally built in the 18th century as a British Army Barracks, it was converted to a Reformatory School in 1870 under the direction of the Oblates of the Immaculate Mary. The complex includes a barracks building, dormitories and sanitary blocks, a chapel, trade workshops, farm outbuildings, a laundry, a bakery, and a forge. After WWII, the site was transferred to the ownership of the state under the Office of Public Works, and the buildings continued as a Reformatory School run by the Oblates until its closure in 1973. The National Museum of Ireland was granted use of the site for storage purposes in 1979, and stored a range of its collections there, including archaeological and natural history collections.

The majority of the collections currently housed in the Reformatory are the Museum's Agricultural Machinery Collection, covering the era of the horse drawn machine from late 19th century through to the introduction of motor powered machinery in the mid 20th century. The focus of the collection is on Irish manufactured machinery.

They include threshers, reaper binders, winnowing machinery, mowing machines and smaller iron machinery such as ploughs and seed sowers, and motorised tractors.

The National Museum of Ireland’s Transport Collection covers a wide range of horse drawn vehicles. The Irish Folklife collection includes farm carts, delivery carts, cabs, jaunting cars, tub traps, fire tenders, hearses and barrel top wagons, and are representative of the vehicles used in everyday life and business activities in both rural and urban Ireland. These date mainly from the late 19th to mid 20th centuries, when they gradually went out of usage from the 1950s.

The Art & Industry collection of vehicles date mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, and include private carriages owned by the landed gentry, and mail coaches, which were also used for public transportation. A large collection of saddlery is also housed with the vehicle collection.

The Museum at Daingean also houses larger items from the Trades and Crafts Collection, and part of the Boat Collection.

Access to these collections is by appointment only.  Please contact the Folklife Duty Officer: folklifedo@museum.ie, or telephone the Museum of Country Life: 094 - 9031 755.

For queries regarding the Archaeological Collections stored at Daingean, please contact the Irish Antiquities Duty Officer by email - antiquitiesdo@museum.ie