2013

A Story about the History of Dún Laoghaire: The Private Collection of Eileen Champion Poole


Following an open call made by dlr Arts in 2012, Sabina Mac Mahon was selected as the recipient of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s inaugural Concourse Award, an exhibition award designed to provide the general public with an opportunity to engage with contemporary visual arts practice in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown while also supporting the work of a local artist.

Following a year spent researching and planning the exhibition, Mac Mahon presented A Story about the History of Dún Laoghaire: The Private Collection of Eileen Champion Poole in association with the Eileen Champion Poole Trust  at the Concourse Space in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Hall in May 2013.

A pioneering but sadly now largely forgotten antiquarian, amateur archaeologist, etymologist, ethnographer, local historian,novelist, watercolourist and photographer, Eileen Champion Poole (1902-1974) grew up in Kilbogget House in Cabinteely and at the age of seven told her parents that she wanted to run a museum. For her tenth birthday her father made her a present of an old shed on his estate (which now forms part of Kilbogget Park) in which she opened her museum of local history. By the age of 12 she was employing a part-time assistant and had amassed a collection of over 700 items relating to the history of the greater Dún Laoghaire area.

A Story about the History of Dún Laoghaire was the first exhibition of artefacts from Eileen Champion Poole’s personal collection to take place since her death. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to engage with her expansive legacy and re-examine her contribution to our understanding of the history of Dún Laoghaire through a range of personal and historical artefacts, some of which had not been shown in public since the museum on the grounds of Kilbogget House closed in the mid-1930s.

From the remains of a Vegetable Lamb believed to have grazed in the rock-strewn pastures of Glenageary to an ancient piece of brack and a taxidermied team of archaeological seagulls trained to investigate the existence of a submerged village in Killiney Bay, the exhibition provided a fascinating insight into the life and times of Eileen Champion Poole and the place that she called home.
exhibition poster:
A Story about the History of Dún Laoghaire: The Private Collection of Eileen Champion Poole
Concourse Space, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Hall
May 2013