Modern day Dundalk connects with its historic past in a major new exhibition by photographer Ken Finegan, called ‘Our Town, My Story’, which has its official opening at the County Museum Dundalk this Friday evening.
Ken has chosen over 50 images of Dundalk taken over the years, including the Market Square, the Crescent Garda Barracks, Rawsons and Hallidays factories and the Green Church. His photographs focus on some well known faces at both local and national level, all of whom are linked to Dundalk.
Among those featured is Dundalk man, Martin Naughton, of Glen Dimplex who has been pictured in front of Ice House Hill, the park just a few steps from his Laurels home which his Naughton Foundation was heavily involved in renovating and where there now stands a tribute to his father.
Said Ken Finegan: “Everyone I asked to be photographed has done their best for me and I’m very grateful for their co-operation. As was the case with everyone else, Martin Naughton, was very happy to be involved in the project and came to Dundalk at the earliest opportunity. His ties to Dundalk remain strong and he has his own happy memories and stories of Dundalk.
All the photographs for ‘Our Town, My Story’ are taken as close to the exact location as possible with expert precision as Ken explains: “I had to be sure the new images were taken as close to the exact spot as the older photograph. Years may have passed and areas at first glance may seem completely different but then you notice a tree, or a railing, or a building in the background which is also in the older photograph. This search for clues involved counting railings or window frames or bricks but it was all worthwhile for the very accurate results.”
The exhibition has turned up some fascinating stories, according to Ken, all of which have contributed to the exhibition ‘Our Town, My Story’.
“I’ve been looking at Dundalk’s industries, well known buildings and popular locations. The people that are featured in the photographs all have links with the location be it in the past or present. They all have their own memories of the location, and have been sharing their stories and recollections. Some of the stories are amazing and all go to provide a vital piece of Dundalk’s history,” adds Ken.
Museum Curator, Brian Walsh, says that that the exhibition has potential for future expansion: “Ken has done some tremendous work for this exhibition. He has spent hours in choosing the most effective older images, then more time trying to find the exact spot from which the image was originally taken. Add to that the time it took to find the right people to include in the photographs, and in some cases, moving them inch by inch into the right spot.
“Also, for the first time in the County Museum, we are introducing QR codes on a number of the exhibition pieces. People can scan the QR code with their phones and have access to interviews with the person in the photograph about their connection with the area.”
“Of course as further images come to light in the future there may be the potential to add to the excellent collection Ken already has in place,” adds Brian Walsh.
The exhibition will be officially opened by Tommy Graham, History Ireland this Friday evening, July 19, at 5.30pm in the County Museum, Dundalk and the exhibition will run until the end of August.