Tale of Newport’s historic jam jar on TV tonight

Staying In

HIDDEN WITHIN Pat Chambers with his daughter Maggie and Áine Doyle, Conservation Consultant, inside the old shed where the historical letters were found during a restoration. Pic: Conor McKeown


Local War of Independence discovery to feature on RTÉ’s Ear to the Ground


Anton McNulty

The tale of the discovery of letters and other artefacts from the War of Independence and Civil War period hidden in the walls of a Newport shed will be featured on Ear to the Ground this evening.
First covered in The Mayo News in November, the story tells how fascinating documents that belonged to Tom Mulchrone, a leading republican in the Newport area 100 years ago, were discovered in an old jam jar inside the walls of his shed located beside his old home in Doontrusk on the Mulranny side of Newport.
The shed now belongs to well-known Newport sheep farmer, Pat Chambers whose great-aunt, Mary Hoban, was married to Tom.
Pat admitted to The Mayo News that he was thinking of knocking the shed, as it was in a ruin, but instead he decided to apply for a grant to renovate it as part of the GLAS Traditional Farm Building Grant Scheme run by the Heritage Council and the Department of Agriculture
He was successful in his application and was renovating the 19th-century stone shed when builders came upon the hidden historical treasure.
The documents found inside the jam jar include letters between Tom and his brother John who lived in the US where they discussed the campaign in Ireland, as well as receipts and expenses from the Newport Sinn Féin Club and a diary containing songs from the era.
The Michael Davitt Museum have helped Pat in preserving the documents and recently Ear to the Ground presenter, Ella McSweeney visited Newport and the Michael Davitt Museum to hear about the remarkable find.
Speaking on The Tommy Marren Show on MidWest Radio, McSweeney read about the story in The Mayo News and described it as a remarkable story.
“This chance find is not only valuable to Pat Chambers and his family but quite frankly to all of us and our understanding of our own history particularly so for people in Mayo,” she said.
Ear to the Ground will also feature the herd of Old Irish Goats that were transported from Mulranny to Howth Head last year in order to protect the biodiversity of the Dublin beauty spot.
The programme will be broadcast tonight (Thursday) at 7pm on RTÉ One and repeated again on Sunday at 1.10pm.