Johnstown Castle Estate Museum and Gardens in County Wexford has two brand new exhibitions on offer to visitors this summer.
A new exhibition of miniature motors by Matchbox, Corgi and Dinky sees over 600 miniature vehicles on display. The collection is complemented by a fascinating collection of vintage motoring memorabilia, garage pumps and equipment from the Museum’s extensive collection of transport-related artefacts which have long disappeared from forecourts, along with other objects from a time when a car journey was a big adventure.
The unique collection was a labour of love was amassed over the course of a lifetime from all over the world, by Mr Maurice Bryan (1929-2013) of Rathfarnham (later Swords), Co Dublin. Maurice’s family wanted to see this unique collection remain intact and made available for other people to enjoy so they donated it in its entirety to the Irish Agricultural Museum at Johnstown Castle Estate Museum and Gardens. Maurice put the collection together from toy and collector fairs all over the world, purchasing some in brand new condition in their original boxes whilst total restoring others.
The exhibition appeals to all ages, from toddlers to those ninety years young who remember using the vintage motor equipment and playing with the first Dinky toys. The exhibition runs throughout the summer months and is part of the general admission price.
The second new exhibition celebrates Wexford’s industrial giant, Pierce & Co. at the Irish Agricultural Museum. The company has a fascinating history and the showcase chronicles Pierce’s Foundry, a Wexford company that, through innovation and perseverance, rose to international acclaim.
In 1846 James Pierce of Wexford designed a horse-powered thrasher and followed this with designs for root cutters, pulpers, chaff cutters and churns. The Pierce Foundry on Mill Road, Wexford was for many years the biggest manufacturer of engineering and agricultural machinery in Ireland.
The Pierce exhibition features some of the machinery from Pierce & Co, family stories, pictures and artefacts from the company’s history in Wexford. Visitors can take a nostalgic journey through Irish farming and social history at the Irish Agricultural Museum housed in the Johnstown Castle Estate’s farm courtyard buildings, the Irish Agricultural Museum displays one of the most comprehensive exhibits of farming and rural life in Ireland. The Museum which has been open for over forty years now consists of 19 different exhibitions – everything from tractors to country kitchens.
If you’re planning a visit to Johnstown Castle this summer, the Café is open daily with terraced seating outdoors and plenty of picnic benches dotted throughout the beautiful gardens, lake walks and woodland playground. Visitors can also enjoy the stunning views of the lakes or meander through the Daniel Robertson designed gardens and enjoy the woodland playgrounds and the child-friendly trail in the Irish Agricultural Museum. Guided tours of the historic gothic revival Johnstown Castle with its 200-metre long servant’s tunnel will also re-open to visitors as soon as government restrictions allow. The estate and its attractions are open 7 days per week year-round and tickets can be pre-booked or purchased on arrival, for details see https://johnstowncastle.ie/