Cowen hands Lynch memorabilia to Cork public

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen presented a collection of Jack Lynch memorabilia to the people of Cork yesterday.

Among the items are an ivory casket presented by Indira Gandhi to former taoiseach Lynch during a state visit to India, a baseball bat bearing Babe Ruth’s name which was presented to him during an official visit to America and his GAA All-Time All-Star Award, presented in 1981.

The collection will be catalogued by staff at the Cork Public Museum over the coming months.

Museum curator Stella Cherry said the collection mostly features items and gifts presented to Lynch during his official state visits. But she said it also features a range of “touching personal memorabilia” including Lynch’s hat, gloves, scarves, a wristwatch and a tender photograph of Lynch and his wife Máirín, taken in front of the Taj Mahal.

There are also several medals, including one presented when he visited the United Nations in 1970 and a medal presented to him to mark Pope John Paul’s visit to Ireland in 1979.

While most of the late taoiseach’s papers and letters are housed in the National Archives in Dublin, the Cork Public Museum has amassed an impressive collection of his memorabilia over the last six years, including two of his trademark smoking pipes and a selection of couture dresses owned by the late Máirín.

“It will take up a year to photograph and catalogue the latest collection. It will be some time before these items go on public display,” Ms Cherry said.

Lynch’s sister Eva Harvey and his cousins Gretta Drummond, Noreen and Finbarr Golden and Gerard Dunne were at the hand- over ceremony in Fitzgerald’s Park.

Mr Cowen thanked them for allowing the items to be presented to the city and described Jack Lynch as “Cork’s finest native son”.

“His achievements were many and they were far- reaching. He accomplished much on behalf of the Irish people. But to my mind, his greatest legacy is rooted in his skill in leading this country into the European Economic Community in 1973, and safely through the outbreak of the Troubles in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Lord Mayor Cllr Dara Murphy said he is delighted the collection had been given to the people of Cork.

“We have many wonderful locations for these items that will be on display over the next number of years, some permanently and some on special exhibition,” he said.

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