Photo gallery of "Fighting Irishmen" launch in Northern Ireland: Click here
The Irish Arts Center of New York City has brought their hugely successful “Fighting Irishmen” exhibition overseas for the first time to Northern Ireland.
Some of the biggest names in Irish boxing, including Barry McGuigan, Paul McCloskey and Charlie Nash, attended the launch of “Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of the Celtic Warrior” on May 28 at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone.
“Fighting Irishmen,” presented by the Irish Arts Center, Honorary Chair and long time supporter of the Center Liam Neeson and guest curator James Houlihan, was previously a mainstay in New York and Boston for three years. This is the first time the internationally acclaimed exhibition has gone on display outside the U.S.
Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan officially launched the exhibition in the award-winning County Tyrone museum. It features photographs and memorabilia charting the unique stories of Celtic Prizefighters from 1820 to the present day, including pieces from boxing greats such as John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey and John Duddy, as well as personal items from Liam Neeson’s amateur boxing career.
Perhaps the most unique item on display is the late, great Irish fighter Dan Donnelly’s mummified right arm.
Speaking at the exhibition’s Northern Ireland launch, Barry McGuigan said: “Love of boxing runs deep in Ireland’s veins and that passion for the sport travelled unabated to America with emigration. The exhibition is fantastic and clearly highlights boxing’s rich history from 1820 onwards. I’m thrilled to be part of the exhibition and think it is highly appropriate to have it displayed at the Ulster American Folk Park."
“Fighting Irishmen” has achieved great success since its opening at the Irish Arts Center in New York in the fall of 2006. The exhibition was also featured at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York as their main attraction in 2007, and was most recently presented at the John J. Burns library at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts. The exhibition, which has been adapted for display at the Ulster American Folk Park, was also the subject of a feature documentary by the BBC.
“Fighting Irishmen: Celebrating Celtic Prizefighters 1820 – Present” was developed by the Irish Arts Center in New York City under the direction of guest curator James J. Houlihan and is set to run at the Omagh museum until the November 29.