Helen Honoured For Her Role In Promoting Kerry Culture And Heritage

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Helen O’Carroll (left) receives the Kerry Heritage Award 2018, from Marie O’Sullivan, President, Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, at the society’s annual lunch in the Rose Hotel, Tralee, on Sunday. Photo by Dermot Crean

HELEN O’Carroll, Curator of Kerry County Museum, was presented with the Kerry Heritage Award, 2018, by Marie O’Sullivan, President, Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, at the society’s annual lunch in The Rose Hotel  on Sunday.

The presentation was made to honour Helen, for her outstanding commitment and dedication to Kerry’s rich and varied culture and heritage as exemplified by her role in developing Kerry’s County Museum.

Helen, is the daughter of Florry and Eileen O’Carroll, of Caherslee, Tralee. She holds an MA Degree in history and a Diploma in Arts Administration from University College Dublin. Over the past 27 years Helen has forged a stellar career in Kerry.

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During the 1990s she led a team in the Indexation of Ships’ Passenger Lists’ as part of the overall Jenny Johnson project.

She was appointed curator of Kerry County Museum in 2000. The Museum has two main mandates, firstly, the “collecting, recording and preserving of our past”, and secondly, “connecting with the community”.

Since her appointment as curator, Helen has nurtured and fostered both of these. Numerous large and extremely significant exhibitions have been mounted at the Museum since her appointment as curator.

The first of these was the Antarctica Exhibition (2000), which chronicled the Tom Crean story. This exhibition won for the museum the Best Exhibition Award from the Heritage Council of Ireland.

A second major exhibition was staged in 2005, the Wilson Watercolours Exhibition. The 2007 Spymaster Exhibition, told the story of Sneem born William Melville, who forged a distinguished career as a detective in London and established the precursor of MI5.

This exhibition won for the Museum a second Best Exhibition Award. Kerry County Museum was awarded the accolade of Museum of the Year in 2009 by the Heritage Council of Ireland, and in the same year was also Highly Commended in the Best Education and Outreach Project Category.

The Museum’s current exhibition Casement in Kerry: A Revolutionary Journey, was opened by President Michael D. Higgins on April 21, 2016 and is one of the largest Casement exhibitions ever to be mounted.

Helen was appointed to the Board of the Heritage Council of Ireland in 2010, a not insignificant achievement for the Curator of a regional museum.

Under Helen’s stewardship the Museum was awarded Full Accreditation in the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland in 2013. It continues to retain this accreditation.

The announcement of Helen as the recipient of the Kerry Heritage Award, 2018, was met with resounding applause at the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society annual lunch. All present wished Helen every success with her future career.

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