Irons backs artifacts campaign

Hollywood legend Jeremy Irons is expected to lend his support to a campaign to ensure all artifacts discovered in Cork remain in the county and are not sent to the National Museum in Dublin.

County councillors are set to mount a campaign to bring Cork artifacts back from the capital to increase historical finds displayed in local museums which they believe will bolster tourism.

Cllr Dermot Sheehan (Fine Gael) prompted the move when he said items being unearthed from a 17th century ship recently discovered in Schull should remain in the area.

These include what is believed to be the first cargo of coconuts delivered to this country from the Caribbean.

A number of the coconuts have been removed from the vessel, as well as pottery and other items of historical interest.

The vessel was discovered in shallow water as the council was laying pipes for a new sewerage treatment plant for the area.

“They have a value to Schull as a tourist attraction,” said Mr Sheehan.

“We have some fine museums in the region, such as the award-winning Allihies Copper Mine, the Black Gate museum on the Sheep’s Head, the Bantry armada museum and the Famine museum in Skibbereen, which should be filled with artifacts discovered locally. Instead finds are hoovered up by Dublin.”

Skibbereen-based Cllr Adrian Healy (FG) said he supported the move and outlined how he believes Mr Irons would back it. “When he went about restoring his castle in Kilcoe, a number of items of archaeological interest were found.

“They were whisked off to Dublin. He made several attempts to get them back because he wanted to have them displayed in the Skibbereen Heritage Centre, but to no avail,” said Mr Healy.

The councillor said the minister in charge of heritage should be urged to allow artifacts found in a region to remain on display there.

A number of other councillors also supported the move.

County manager Martin

Riordan said he would certainly take on board the councillors’ wishes.

He said he would discuss the matter with the county council’s newly-appointed tourism officer and with James Fogarty, who recently took up the role of divisional manager in charge of West Cork.

“I fully support what councillors have said. We should be trying to get these artifacts back,” Mr Riordan said.

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