Ballina, 14 April 2015 – Joining in Mayo Day’s inaugural celebrations, perhaps the most iconic piece in Mary Robinson’s archive will play a symbolic role in connecting Mayo communities around the world as they celebrate all that is good and great about their homeland.
In her time as first female President of Ireland, Mary Robinson was instrumental in re-engaging Ireland with its global diaspora, placing a light in the window of Aras an Uachtarain as a symbolic beacon to light the way for Ireland’s diaspora to reconnect with home and to welcome them to their homeland. That light now shines from the window of Ballina Library, as a key feature of The Mary Robinson Centre’s first exhibition ‘Giving Voice’, which runs to the end of October, a reminder of Mary Robinson’s ground breaking work in giving voice to our overseas diaspora.
On May 2nd next, in celebration of Mayo Day, this symbolic light in the window will move to its ultimate home in Mary’s childhood bedroom at Victoria House, where it will take pride of place when The Mary Robinson Centre opens in early 2017. It is in this room, where as a child watching fishermen on the Moy, Mary dreamed big dreams, dreams that would ultimately result in Mary Robinson becoming a global figure and one of the greatest champions of human rights in our world today.
Mayo Day has captured the imaginations of Mayo people around the world. With a worldwide diaspora now estimated at 9.3 million, the global Mayo population remains loyal to its roots in the West of Ireland. ‘The light in the window is one of the most enduring images of Mary’s Presidency’ remarked Susan Heffernan, Project Manager at The Mary Robinson Centre. ‘It travelled with Mary to many overseas events and was always warmly welcomed by Ireland’s overseas communities. Mary is very proud of her home county and its people. For those reasons, it’s very important to us at The Mary Robinson Centre that we have a role to play in not just celebrating Mayo, but also reaching out to Mayo communities around the world as they too celebrate their home county.’