Whatever Happened to the Harry Swan Collection?

On August 20, 2011 by admin

Most Buncrana people know the story of how Harry Percival Swan donated the beautiful park along the Crana River to the people of Buncrana in 1965. However, much less is known about the fate of his priceless collection of antiquities which he amassed over many years. The collection includes pieces made of gold, silver, brass, pewter, copper and other metals, ivory, bone, glass, china, pottery, porcelain and stone. There are also beads, coins, medals, paintings, timepieces, antique furniture and other antique curiosities. Before his death, Harry Swan made clear his wish that most, if not all, of the collection be held and displayed in Buncrana.

However, over forty years later the collection remains in storage in the basement of the National Museum in Dublin. On Thursday 25th August at 7.00pm Dr Adrian Grant will give a presentation on “The Fate of the Swan Collection” in Buncrana Library. The presentation will show how the collection ended up in Dublin and why it has never found its way back to Buncrana. This will be followed by a discussion on the viability of returning the collection to Buncrana. Should we campaign to have a small museum in Buncrana? Is there any point in attempting this now when public funding opportunities are so restricted? Join us in Buncrana Library next Thursday for what should be an interesting evening.

2 Responses to “Whatever Happened to the Harry Swan Collection?”

  • Elizabeth Wyber

    My father,Thomas Swan Long, who was Harry Swan’s nephew in Australia always wanted to know the answer to that question too. He was most concerned about it’s fate & I share that view. I remember staying at Ardeelan & being surrounded by many of these items. What a waste to hide them from view. I am glad to hear that some attempt is being made to rectify the situation but unfortunately my father died last year so will not share that knowledge. Regards Elizabeth(nee Long)

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