Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Picture: Patrick Browne

IT has been said in recent days that Waterford’s Eamonn McEneaney is a treasure in his own right, and it’s difficult to hold any other view when you step foot into Waterford’s fifth museum, The Museum of Time. Situated in the historic walls of Greyfriars Church and set across two floors, an immediate sensation of peace descends. Time fascinates people, because it offers a means for us to track change, and the clocks within the walls of the museum have seen more change than any of us. Once the clocks reach the hour, a cacophony of musical sounds hits the ear as cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks and a wide range of other clocks strike the hour. To be present to hear that in the cavernous church is a very special moment. There is a comfort in knowing that they have always sounded on that hour, and people who are long since gone, listened to it just as we do now. It’s a humbling feeling, and Eamonn McEneaney and his wonderful team in Waterford Treasures are the keepers of the keys for these magnificent timepieces, strengthening their role as the guardians of history in Waterford.

L-R Colman Curran, David Boles and Eamonn McEneaney Picture: Patrick Browne

The tallest grandfather clock in the world, faceless clocks, sundials, and a watch the size of a cufflink are among the extraordinary exhibits in the Irish Museum of Time, which was officially opened on Monday, June 14, by Minister Malcolm Noonan TD. The museum is the only one of its kind across all of Ireland and on display are some of the finest watches and clocks in the world.
Commenting on the official opening, Minister Noonan said, “This wonderful new museum celebrates the work of craftsmen at the forefront of technology from all over the island of Ireland over the last 300 years. In their day timepieces were the equivalent of today’s computers and the creativity of their makers could be a source of inspiration for our tech-savvy young people. I commend the two collectors David Boles and Colman Curran – it is heart-warming to see such extraordinary patriotism and generosity. The people of Waterford and indeed Ireland will be forever indebted to you. I am delighted that my Department was in a position to support this remarkable initiative and a wonderful example of generosity and philanthropy.”

It is fitting that a museum housing some of the oldest timepieces in the world is situated in Ireland’s oldest city. Located in the very heart of the Viking Triangle, the museum is housed in a former neo-Gothic style church, which was built in the 1880s. The history which each timepiece has recorded adds significant cultural and tourism depth to the city and its cultural offerings.

Picture: Patrick Browne

In an extraordinary gesture of generosity and philanthropy, David Boles, Colman Curran and Elizabeth Clooney have gifted their lifelong collections to Waterford Treasures. Speaking at the launch David said, “I have been collecting old Irish clocks and watches since I was 15, driven by the fact that the technological genius of their makers was not at all appreciated in Ireland and indeed was always undervalued. It is a real joy to know that these collections will be kept together and appreciated by visitors to Waterford.”

Colman echoed these sentiments, saying, “It is great to see our dream of a national horology museum – which this is – become a reality.”

Speaking of the launch of Ireland’s newest museum, Waterford Treasures Museum Director Eamonn McEneaney says, “This is the finest collection of Irish timepieces in the world. Waterford Treasures is proud to celebrate the incredible skills of the virtuoso craftsmen who, since the seventeenth century, created timepieces of remarkable beauty and technological genius.”

Visitors can enjoy a self-guided experience at the Irish Museum of Time, which is now open to the public with interactive displays showcasing the story of the museum’s significant pieces. Tickets can be pre-booked from www.waterfordtreasures.com at a cost of €5 per person.

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