Town councillors have resolved to send a letter to the Department of Arts, Heritage & Culture “demanding” that Ormond Castle be the first place in South Tipperary to host an exhibition of the Carrick-on-Suir gold coin hoard after their initial request was ignored.
The letter is being sent as final preparations are made to put the hoard of 81 gold coins found by building workers under the floor of Cooney’s Pub on Carrick-on-Suir’s Main Street on public display in the National Museum at Collins Barracks in Dublin in two weeks time.
The Department’s response to the local authority’s request that the first public exhibition of the 17th century coin hoard in South Tipperary be in Carrick-on-Suir’s historic castle rather than the County Museum in Clonmel was greeted with dismay when it was read out at the Town Council’s April meeting.
The letter informed councillors the coins will go on display in the National Museum shortly and will be placed on temporary display in South Tipperary County Musuem in due course.
No mention was made of the Town Council’s request. Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Liam Walsh said the Department’s response was “unsatisfactory” and he believed security could have been arranged to put them on display in Ormond Castle or Carrick Heritage Centre for even a day.
Independent Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin said the Department completely ignored the Council and was completely “dismissive” of what the Council had said.
“It (the letter) didn’t even mention Carrick-on-Suir. I think it’s a disgraceful reply,” he declared.
Fianna Fail Cllr Kieran Bourke proposed the Town Council write back to the Department outlining its dissatisfaction with their answer and “demanding” the coins be shown in Carrick-on-Suir in either Ormond Castle or the Heritage Centre.
“I am sure it wouldn’t break the bank to put on the appropriate security because I am sure they will have to have security in place in Clonmel,” he said. Fine Gael Cllr Margaret Croke seconded the proposal.
Independent Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald, who is administrator of Carrick-on-Suir Development Association, which runs Carrick Heritage Centre, cautioned against putting forward the Centre as a venue to exhibit the coins.
While it would be wonderful to display the coins in the Heritage Centre, he didn’t believe a voluntary organisation like theirs would be able to do it as the cost would be horrendous.
He said the OPW would be in a much better position to display the coins in Ormond Castle.
“I certainly would have many sleepless nights if they were in the Heritage Centre. Even the security in the County Museum will have to be upgraded substantially.”
Cllr Fitzgerald, who is also a member of South Tipperary Heritage Forum, believed there was a good chance the coins would visit Carrick if they were able to comply with all the National Museum’s rules for displaying such artefacts.
Cllr O’Loughlin pointed out tongue-in-cheek that the coins were safe in Carrick-on-Suir for the past 300 years when no one took them. “So why can’t they bring them back,” he asked.