Thursday, 26 November 2009
De Valera Telegram & first Minute book of Clare County Council (April 1899) conserved
The “De Valera Telegram” has been conserved and recently returned for exhibition to Clare Museum. The telegram was sent by Eamon de Valera in the 1917 By-election to his wife upon his victory over Patrick Lynch of the Irish Party. The conservation was seen through in a joint initiative between Clare County Archives and Clare Museum. The telegram was in a vulnerable condition and was not in fit state to be exhibited/handled-it was in a state of disintegration. The telegram, a printed carbon copy on wood pulp paper, had become brittle, discoloured and acidic. The simple message on the telegram belied the importance of de Valera’s victory, ‘It signifies a move away from constitutional to physical force nationalism and the beginning of a political career that would last until de Valera’s retirement as President of Ireland in 1973’, said John Rattigan, curator of Clare Museum.
The first Minute book of Clare County Council recorded in April 1899 was also included in the conservation project. Clare County Council held is first meeting in the Grand Jury room in the Courthouse in Ennis in 22 April 1899. Michael A. Scanlon was elected as the first Chairman of Clare County Council. ‘Clearly those present regarded the new councils as a stepping stone to national independence as nationalist fervour was the spirit behind a series of motions recorded in the minutes and preserved now in Clare County Archives,’ said Rene Franklin, County Archivist.
Thomas Blackall proposed the following motion:
‘while accepting the Local Government Act  as a tardy instalment of justice, and while we are determined to work for the benefit of all classes in our country, we hereby declare that we will never relax our efforts in the National cause until we see a native Parliament in College Green’ (CC/MIN/1, 22 April 1899).’
This Minute Book and the telegram are both on view in Clare Museum. All minute books of Clare County Council are preserved and available for viewing to the public by contacting Clare County Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or 065 6846414. The photo above shows County Archivist Rene Franklin showing the telegram and minute book to the Deputy Mayor of Ennis, Cllr. Michael Guilfoyle and Mayor of Clare, Cllr. Tony Mulcahy.