The proposed project is to explore Michael Davitt’s work and legacy through researching connections between Mayo and the area to which he moved with his family as a child: Haslingden, in Rossendale, Lancashire, England.
The immediate focus of the project will be to research the collections held in the Michael Davitt Museum in Straide, Mayo and the Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery in Rawtenstall, Rossendale. Initial discussions have revealed a tantalising amount of collected material, mostly paper documents and ephemera, but there is an extensive museum store and archive to explore further. A researcher will work at the Whitaker for 7 weeks during October and November 2022 to explore the archives and collection further.
In addition, an artist will be contracted by Mayo Arts Office to carry out a public art commission in Irishtown, Co.Mayo, site of the 1879 rally that led to the formation of first the Mayo Land League and subsequently the National Land League. Michael Davitt played a pivotal role in this rally although he attended in secret. Initial research with historical documents and within the Irishtown community have revealed some interesting creative avenues for exploration here.
There are a number of possible outcomes to this project:
Uncovering a new body of knowledge regarding Davitt’s activities in England and his impact on social and political developments there.
Engaging members of the Irish diaspora community across the UK.
An exhibition of new material.
Please note that the details of events listed above are provided by the relevant Local Authorities.