On 23 May 2013 Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, has turned the first sod on the Irish Military Park and Museum at Starinagh, Collon. The project was conceived by William Sullivan, a farmer and entrepreneur with land holdings in both Meath and Louth. A life-long collector of military memorabilia, Mr Sullivan decided to create a rural tourism project with his collection, which includes over forty military vehicles, and on 14May 2013 was awarded the JFC Innovation Award for Rural Tourism, in association with Teagasc and the Farmers Journal. The Irish Military Park is scheduled to open in April 2014, and will initially consist of museum dedicated to Irish military service in a variety of forces. The site will also incorporate a coffee shop and playground, and it is anticipated that additional features will be added to it over time.
At the ceremony, Minister Deenihan said ‘I am delighted to have been invited to turn the sod on the Irish Military Park Project. As Minister with responsibility for the Decade of Commemorations, I have been constantly impressed at the level of enthusiasm for, and interest in, military history in Ireland. Today we see how William Sullivan is using his life-long passion for military history to create jobs and to drive interest in our heritage, and it is great to think that this collection will very soon be available for everyone to see, thanks in no small part to Sean’s hard work. History comes to life when you can get up-close with artefacts and vehicles that were part of it’.
To read the full text of Minister Deenihan’s speech, click here.
To learn about the National Museum of Ireland’s permanent exhibition on Irish military service at home and abroad since 1500, Soldiers & chiefs, click here.