Refurbishment of Lár na Páirce
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2002, P 232
Lár na Páirce was opened by President Mary Robinson in 1994 and since then little or no change was made in the centre. As a result of the opening of the G.A.A. shop in the premises in May 2000 certain structural changes had to be made. The directors of Lár na Páirce decided to do a partial makeover of the exhibition area.
They invited Breda Kenny along to give them advice. Breda worked on the setting up of the G.A.A. Museum in Croke Park and on a number of similar enterprises. She is one of the best qualified people in the area and is currently in charge in Ardgillen Castle in Balbriggan.
One of the first things she suggested was a change in the colour scheme. The original green had become dated and wasn't a very effective colour in the display of exhibits. We followed her advice and introduced new colours.
Some of our exhibition cases were over-crowded and she suggested a reduction in the number of items and more dramatic ways of showing them. She also had good ideas on captioning the exhibits.
Because of the extension of the shop into the computer room we had to find a new place for the computer. One of the suggestions we implemented was to move Michael O'Hehir into the video room where there would be a link with his voice which is heard on part of the video. We used the spot vacated by him as new place for the computer.
Nearby we built a small research corner. We have a lot of books, records, minutes and other material relating to the G.A.A. in the county and beyond and it was meant to be accessible to visitors. This wasn't possible up to now but this corner will allow two people at a time to consult the material. It is ideal for students doing projects for school or college.
In the old bank vault the first meeting in Hayes's Hotel is simulated. When one comes through that there were steps down towards the toilets. We had this space blocked up and it is now a useful corner for exhibiting material.
Another area that was improved was the main entrance to the toilets. We used this hallway for exhibiting material relating to Tipperary. Many of these exhibits, illustrating the history of the G.A.A. in the county, were first put together by the Bank of Ireland for the centenary year of 1984. They now have permanent exhibition space.
Another development was the display of all the All-Star teams from 1971 to the present. We were fortunate to be able to put together the complete collection from the time of the early Carroll's All-Stars, which were presented on very colourful posters. In the corridor leading from the Sam Melbourne room to Hayes's Hotel we have posted the portraits of all the Presidents of the G.AA Again this was material we had in storage since we opened and it's great to have it now on show.
We are very pleased with the changes and developments. They have made Lár a much more exciting place and well worth another visit. It grieves me when people say to me: 'I must get around to see Lár na Páirce some day.' Now is the time. It has a lot to offer and deserves an hour of your time. Let it be your resolution for the New Year!