A NEW photographic exhibition detailing life and combat in the trenches of World War One has opened in the Hunt Museum.
Father Browne’s War: Photographs from the Front was opened last Thursday night by well known journalist Kevin Myers, who said: “We need to recall the horror or war and the sacrifice of those who went before us.”
The exhibition features 36 photographs taken during the conflict by Frank Browne, a Jesuit who was heavily decorated for his war efforts as chaplain, including the Military Cross.
“The Museum is grateful to the Jesuit Order and Davison Associates in Dublin for allowing us to display these photographs for the first time in Ireland,” said Hunt Museum director Dr Hugh Maguire.
The exhibition of photographs, taken both at the front and in the trenches in Flanders and near the Somme, form part of the Hunt’s contribution to the commemoration of the Great War but are also intended to “celebrate and commemorate the work of a world-class photographer” in Fr Browne, Dr Maguire explained.
Browne was born in Cork in 1880 and is perhaps more famous for his pictures of the Titanic, from which he disembarked in Cobh, despite having passage to New York on the ill-fated voyage.
However, Fr Browne – who appears in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake as Mr Browne the Jesuit – served with distinction as a war chaplain, serving with the Irish Guards and Royal Dublin Fusiliers.
The pictures were taken in Flanders in the region of Ypres and also further south in the neighbourhood of the Somme. Dr Maguire said despite the horrors of trench warfare, Fr Browne had “managed to record much that is tellingly evocative and horrific”.
The display continues a series of photographic exhibitions appearing in the museum’s exhibition gallery downstairs. It runs until September 20 in the Hunt Museum.
Mr Myers also delivered a lecture on Fr Browne, Limerick and Ireland’s Great War in 69 O’Connell Street on Friday, the day after the opening.
“We wanted to do something to commemorate WW1 and next year we will be doing something on 1916,” explained Naomi O’Nolan, head of collections and exhibitions at the Hunt.
“Some of the images are harrowing, but they are wonderful photographs,” added Ms Nolan.
Dr Maguire explained that the collection will also travel onward when it is finished in Limerick.
“I am glad that the exhibition will be travelling to Cavan County Museum later in the autumn as the museum is keen to develop its travelling exhibition programme.”