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Hunt Museum inspires climate action through new exhibition “Nights Candles are Burnt Out”

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Pictured at the Hunt Museum interactive exhibition “Nights Candles are Burnt Out: Climate, Culture, Change & Community” were Scoil Ide, Corbally pupils, Elena Bucke, Jayden Lowe and Padraig Lynch. Picture: Alan Place

“Nights Candles are Burnt Out” is the latest interactive and experiential exhibition to open at the Hunt Museum

“Nights Candles are Burnt Out” is the latest interactive and experiential exhibition to open at the Hunt Museum
Pictured at “Nights Candles are Burnt Out: Climate, Culture, Change & Community” were Scoil Ide, Corbally pupils, Janes Keane Cathal Griffin and Ronan Kiely. Through art, storytelling and interactive games, the children learned about the science and technology that can move us to a sustainable future. Picture: Alan Place

This transformative exhibition hopes to spark conversations and inspire action regarding the pressing issue of Climate Change, drawing inspiration from Ireland’s history of positive change, exemplified by the development of the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme in Ardnacrusha in 1929, and Sean Keating’s allegory Night’s Candles Are Burnt Out (on semi-permanent loan to the Hunt Museum), which chronicles Ireland’s transformation into a modern economy. 

“Night’s Candles are Burnt Out” invites visitors to explore how Ireland can embrace its pioneering history and lead the way in addressing the Climate Challenge, by harnessing the immense renewable energy potential of the Shannon Estuary, particularly through wind and water.  

Through art, technology, and storytelling, “Night’s Candles are Burnt Out” offers local communities and the public at large an opportunity to engage with the positive possibilities of change, fostering hope and motivating individuals to consider how they can contribute to sustainable solutions.  


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As we anticipate the supply of Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy through the Shannon Estuary by 2030, the exhibition emphasises the need for communities to recognise the intrinsic value of positive change and support the necessary interim disruptions, such as road construction and services which will feel counter-intuitive, much like the creation of Ardnacrusha and the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme did in the 1920’s.  

Jill Cousins, Director, The Hunt Museum, said, “The Hunt Museum’s role in Climate Action is to serve as a creative and educational hub and a conduit to meaningful change. We’re bringing our community and partners together to curate an interactive exhibition that encourages conversation and action on the Climate Crisis.

“Through the transformative power of art and culture, we can ignite behavioural change by establishing emotional connections that will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the science and technology that can move us from our reliance on non-renewable energy to a sustainable future. Our goal is to encourage buy-in for future possibilities while encouraging more environmentally friendly lifestyles and practices in the present.” 

Scoil Ide, Corbally 5th class pupils, Ella McMahon, Holly Byrnes, Clodagh Caldwell and Saoirse Giltinan. Picture: Alan Place

This exhibition’s overarching message is one of optimism, emphasizing the importance of translating technological advancements into meaningful, real-world progress.  It is supported by a number of partners including ESB as key sponsor, Western Star Alliance of Simply Blue and EDF Renewables, ESB Archives, GKinetic, Shannon Airport Group, CityXchange Project, Mary Immaculate College and Shannon Foynes Port.  It has a received a Regional Museum’s Grant from the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Media & Sport as the exhibition sets out Ireland’s role in Europe’s green energy transformation and demonstrates the technologies that can produce such renewable energy. It is also supported by Failte Ireland as the exhibition enhances Limerick’s offering as a Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City and builds on Limerick’s growing portfolio of unique visitor experiences. 

The exhibition is co-created by companies involved in alternative energy supply and technology, local communities and contemporary artists interpreting the science and facts, translating the fears and aspirations. 

As a creative immersive experience, visitors are brought through a series of installations starting with a flywheel and wind turbine in the courtyard. Visitors are then brought on a journey from 100 years ago to now, looking at Pre-electrification Ireland, the Electrical Revolution, Consumerism and The Tipping Point. This is followed by a phase of reflection. An art installation by Niamh Schmidtke helps us reflect on what it takes to create green energy and asks what is the impact of sustainable energy? The final phase of the experience focuses on the technology-led solutions at our disposal and the people power solutions. As visitors leave, they will have an opportunity to contribute to a Climate Community Action Mural – a city-wide art installation capturing their thoughts on all aspects of the climate crisis. 

Over the coming months, The Hunt Museum will have lots of events and activities to support the exhibition including: Family workshops, Podcasts by experts and artists along with lectures and talks. Please note that entry is €5 and booking is necessary. Click HERE reserve your space.

  • 1 pm, Tuesday 23rd January:

“The Power of Advertising” – Highlights from ESB Archives Advertising Collection with Lucy Proctor

Lucy Proctor from ESB Archives will discuss the role of advertising in promoting the widespread consumption of electricity following the rollout of the Shannon Scheme and in the decades that followed. Looking at a selection print media, film and television commercials from the ESB Archives collection, this talk will explore how advertising was used to influence the Irish public around the benefits of electricity within their daily lives. It will also discuss how messaging around electricity consumption adapted and evolved in the face of various energy challenges facing the country throughout the years.

  • 1 pm, Tuesday 30th January:

“Life on the Shannon Scheme” with Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy, author of the book ‘High Tension: Life on the Shannon Scheme’, will be giving a talk about the politics and life in Ireland during the development of the Shannon Scheme during the 1920’s and 1930’s, covering the mistrust and paranoia left behind from the Irish civil war.

  • 1pm, Saturday 17th February:

“Seán Keating and the Shannon Scheme” with Dr. Éimear O’Connor

Dr. Éimear O’Connor will be giving a talk on the artist Seán Keating and his painting Night’s Candles Are Burnt Out, delving into its allegory, the messages and stories the artist was portraying through painting from his witnessing of electrification in Ireland with the construction of the Ardnacrusha Power Plant.

Officially opened by the Mayor of Limerick City & County Council, Gerard Mitchell, “Night’s Candles are Burnt Out,” invites visitors to explore how Ireland can embrace its pioneering history and lead the way in addressing the Climate Challenge, by harnessing the immense renewable energy potential of the Shannon Estuary, particularly through wind and water.  It takes inspiration from the enormous undertaking in 1929 of the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme in Ardnacrusha, and Sean Keating’s painting Night’s Candles Are Burnt Out (on semi-permanent loan to the Hunt Museum), which chronicles the impact of the development on Ireland. 

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.