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Special Collections & Archives' Outreach & Engagement: Previous Exhibitions

How Special Collections & Archives interacts with the world.

Pádraic Fiacc: The Poet of the Pagan City. An exhibition of photographs by John Minihan (26 April-6 June 2022)

Pádraic Fiacc: The Poet of the Pagan City. An exhibition of photographs by John Minihan

The exhibition was launched on Tuesday 26 April at 17:00 by Patrick Cotter, Director of the Munster Literature Centre, with readings of Pádraic Fiacc’s work by poets Dean Browne, John Fitzgerald, Gerry Murphy and Mary Noonan.

Black and white photograph of the poet Padraic Fiacc. He's staring directly at the camera. He's bearded and wearing glasses. He has a scarf and checked coat on. He's visible only from the waist-up. Behind him is a wall.

The poet Patrick Joseph O’Connor, otherwise known as Pádraic Fiacc, was born on 15th April 1924 in Elizabeth Street in the Lower Falls district of Belfast.  He died in January 2019, aged 95, and is buried in Milltown Cemetery.

The John Minihan Photographic Archive is held by UCC Library and this exhibition continued until 6th June 2022.

Through the Lens of the Secret Police: Images of the Religious Underground in Eastern Europe (9 October 2020 - 31 March 2021)

Through the Lens of the Secret Police: Images of the Religious Underground in Eastern Europe opened 9 October 2020 and continued until 9 March 2021. The exhibition is part of the European Research Council Horizon 2020 funded project Hidden Galleries. The exhibition is curated by Gabriela Nicolescu and James Kapaló. 

This exhibition explores the legacy of secret police operations against religion through a visual cultural lens. The displays present a difficult kind of cultural patrimony comprised of images shot or stolen by the secret service police in four different countries: Romania, Hungary, The Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Sometimes violent or intrusive, at other times personal or with a documentary quality, secret police visual materials had many uses at the time and today prompt varied interpretations. Images that at the time were used by the secret police as incriminating evidence against religious communities, today also represent the memory, cultural patrimony and creative spirit of these groups and individuals.

As far as possible, we tell the story of secret police operations through the photographs and images we found in the archives. The team of researchers sifted through hundreds of thousands of pages of files in order to find these uncatalogued, hidden visual traces of communities that had been targeted by the state. Today, members of targeted communities rarely know about the secret police archives or how to gain access. For this reason, whenever possible, the researchers approached individuals and communities to discuss their experience of repression and their presence in the archives. This exhibition includes the voices and reflections of members of these communities.

Full information about the exhibition is available on the Hidden Galleries' website.

Social media:

Publish and Be Damned – Cork Zine Archive 1975 – 2005 (5 July - 30 September 2019)

Publish and Be Damned is an exhibition of zines and independent magazines published in Cork by various groups from 1975 until 2005, or from 1975 until the dawn of digital and social media. Publish and Be Damned launched at 17:00 Friday 8 July with special guest Jim O’Mahony (Belsonic Sound) and a DJ set from John Byrne (Quare Groove) playing Cork records from the era. 

Cork Zine Archive are on social media:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter as @corkzinearchive and the hashtag is #CorkZineArchive. 

Fanning Sessions have compiled a two hour mixtape of demos and sessions by 36 Cork artists that have featured on the Fanning Sessions site over the last 10 years.

Fairy Lore and Landscapes (11 April - June 2019)

Fairy Lore and Landscape: Legends, Lore and Experiences Gathered Through Ethnographic Research was open 11 April - June 2019. The exhibition is curated by Dr Jenny Butler, Study of Religions Department. William Ruane, of UCC Library, created two toadstools within the exhibition. The exhibition was launched on Thursday 11 April by Cllr. Kieran McCarthy, Deputy Lord Mayor.


Credit: George Russell The Stolen Child (image courtesy of Armagh County Museum)

A guest lecture by Professor Diane Purkiss (Keble College) opened the exhibition. Prof Purkiss' lecture "Scary and Sexy Fairies: a Scottish Witch and the Fairy Queen of the Underworld" was presented by the Irish Network for the Study of Esotericism and Paganism - INSEP and sponsored by the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism - ESSWE

For coverage of the event view Dr Butler's Twitter moment

The Irish in Italy (7 February - 30 March 2019)

UCC Library in partnership with the Department of Italian and CASiLAC have created The Irish in Italy: Irish Literature and Politics in Italy in the First Half of the Twentieth Century exhibition.  The exhibition was launched on 7 February 2019 by His Excellency Paolo Serpi and UCC President Dr. Patrick O'Shea. The exhibition was open from 7 February - 30 March 2019. 









The following events were held in association with the exhibition:

  • 19 February "James Joyce in Italy & for a new Italian translation of The Dead” by Dr Alessandro Gentili (former Director of the British School in Florence), Time TBC in the Creative Zone, UCC Library.
  • 11 March “Imagining Irish Theatre in Early Fascist Italy: W.B. Yeats at the Volta Conference in Rome, 1934", by Professor Lauren Arrington (University of Liverpool), at 6pm in the Creative Zone, UCC Library.

Ellen Hutchins, Ireland's First Female Botanist (15 October - 21 December 2018)

The Ellen Hutchins Festival Team including Madeline Hutchins and Jenny Dempsey created the Ellen Hutchins, Ireland's First Female Botanist exhibition. 

Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) was Ireland’s First Female Botanist. Ellen’s story is of a remarkable young woman with a curiosity and determination to find out more about seaweeds and other plants. The exhibition had a selection of Ellen’s beautifully detailed water-colour drawings of seaweeds, her specimens, and her letters as well as objects and books that helped tell her story. The space featured wonderful photographs of Bantry Bay, Glengarriff Woods and the special plants found in the area. Visitors to the exhibition could sit in a period chair and read some of Ellen’s letters or use a microscope or hand lens at a laboratory table to view some amazing lichens or look through a folder of Ellen’s specimens.

Claude Pelieu – On all frequencies (2 July - 30 September 2018)

The exhibition Claude Pélieu – On all frequencies curated by James Horton (Ecole Normale Supérieure) was open from 2 July - 30 September 2018.

Claude Pélieu (1934 –2002) was a French poet, translator and artist, probably best known for his work with the Beat generation of writers, especially William S. Burroughs, and his collage work. For further information see Claude Pélieu – On all frequencies at UCC Library. 

1972: Ireland Votes For Change (September - December 2017)

UCC Library's two archivists, Emer Twomey and Emma Horgan talk to Shush! Sounds from UCC Library about the exhibition 1972: Ireland Votes for Change which ran September - December 2017.

Emer Twomey and Emma Horgan, co-curators of 1972:Ireland Votes For Change have published a complementary blog post to the exhibition which ran September - December 2017.

Journeys of Belonging and Belief: Modern Pilgrimage (April - September 2017)

Pilgrimage is one of the fundamental structures a journey can take — the quest in search of something, if only one's own transformation, the journey toward a goal. – Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking.

Journeys of Belonging and Belief: Modern Pilgrimage explores the pilgrimage tradition and how it is manifest in contemporary Ireland. In Ireland, pilgrimage continues to play an important role in the emotional and spiritual lives of thousands of individuals and in the social life of communities. As a piece of geographical research, it focuses on the relationships between people and place. Using text and images, it considers how through performing pilgrimage, people are making holy places and how the locations are, simultaneously, defining people as pilgrims.  The exhibition features quotations from research participants who shared their experiences through interviews.  In line with the ethical agreement of the research, only first names are used, and some are pseudonyms.  All photographs were taken by the researcher.

The exhibition was organised by Dr Richard Scriven and is sponsored by the Irish Research Council, UCC Library and the Department of Geography at UCC.  The exhibition was on display in the Boole Library from April - September 2017.