Pat Lynch of Fox’s Lane Folk Museum in Youghal, Co Cork began collecting the pieces in 1970.
Over the following 40 years he and his wife Ann travelled throughout the country collecting more and more items, which they have exhibited in a private town centre museum from 1995.
Tens of thousands of tourists have visited the small museum, which has contributed in no small way to Youghal’s tourism sector.
The couple stopped collecting in 2010. However without the buzz of sourcing and restoring artefacts Pat, an energetic 77-year-old, has found that the chase was more fulfilling than the catch.
“I’m not really cut out for staring at walls and waiting for visitors,” he confided. “So I’m closing up.”
The collection is documented in a recently compiled inventory that reveals a vast array of weird and wonderful utensils from Ireland’s past.
It spans washing, sanitary, ironing, sewing, light, heat, cook, food preparation, dairy, drinks, entertainment, home, office, grooming, utility and kitchen.
The displays include manually operated vacuum cleaners, an Edison Phonograph, gramophones, telephones, early radios and blade sharpeners as well as obsolete curiosities like button hooks, glove stretchers, sugar crushers, hat iron and even a cucumber straightener.
Pat is keen to have the collection retained as a single inventory.
He would also prefer to have it exhibited locally, whether at its current address or elsewhere. He has written to local cultural, heritage and tourism bodies seeking proposals.
One option may be to store the artefacts in the newly restored Clock Gate, some 20 metres from Fox’s Lane and due to re-open as a public attraction in the next year.
Meanwhile, the curator is prepared to listen to all recommendations, while acknowledging that quantifying the actual value of the items is not a straightforward matter either.