independent

Friday 22 September 2017

EPIC stories of famous Sligo faces

The stories of several Sligo natives feature at EPIC museum

The valiant contributions of many Sligo men and women down through history are among the stories presented at EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum in the beautiful vaults of the 1820 Custom House Quarter of the Dublin docklands, just minutes from Connolly Station.

Grange native Lola Montez is among them. Born here in 1821 Lola was a dancer, actress, courtesan, and the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. King Ludwig I made her Countess of Landsfeld, a title which she used to institute liberal reform. She was forced to flee Bavaria when the revolutions of 1848 began in the German states. Some of her performances were based on her own life , such as Lola Montez in Bavaria. She completed a hugely successful tour of the Australian goldfields in the 1850s. After she fled Bavaria, she settled in the U.S. where she worked as an entertainer and lecturer.

A Ballymote born Marist priest, Bro. Walfrid, originally named Andrew Kerins, founded Celtic Football Club in 1887/1888. As EPIC outlines, the club quickly became a symbol for cultural, religious and political identity. It was founded by and for the Irish diasporic community, drawing mainly on the support of this community. it was Britain's first European Soccer Champion club.

Bernardo O'Higgins was born in Chile in 1778 and was the illegitimate son of Ambrosio (Ambrose Bernard) O'Higgins, a Spanish officer from Co. Sligo. His father was captain general of Chile (1788 - 1796) and Viceroy of Peru (1796 - 1801). O'Higgins became a leader for independence, freeing Chile from Spanish rule during the Chilean War of Independence. He became Supreme Director of Chile in 1817, serving until 1823, and is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Chile.

The famous fiddle player, James Morrison, who was born in 1893 near Riverstown is also featured at EPIC. Recordings of his music made in New York during the 1920s and 1930s are regarded as some of the finest examples of recorded folk music in the 20th century. Morrison's natural teaching capabilities led to him forming an impressive music teaching practice which catered for the children of Irish immigrants.

Other Sligonians include military man Francis Taaffe, Earl of Carlingford, scientists Sir George Stokes and Dr Charles MacMunn and artist Jack B. Yeats.

EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum is a state-of-the-art interactive experience located in the docklands, the original departure point for so many of Ireland's emigrants, it delves into the stories of Irish emigration from early times to modern day.

Twenty galleries are organised around the themes of migration, motivation, influence and connection.

It was designed by Event Communications, the multi-award winning designers of Titanic Belfast.

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