Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kilcullen at 'The Fighting Irishmen'

Last night's Gala Opening of the 'Fighting Irishmen' exhibition at The Irish Arts Center in New York was a fun affair.

fightirish1560Central to the wide range of Irish and Irish-American boxing memorabilia was Dan Donnelly's Arm, for decades a fixture in The Hideout which brought people from all over the globe to the small cross-roads village pub.


fightirish1596The arm was loaned to the exhibition by Josephine Byrne (above), wife of the late Des. Many members of the Byrne family, along with friends of Des, came to the Big Apple to help celebrate the event, which was organised by New York businessman and patron of The Irish Arts Center Jim Houlihan (left).

The arm has been the focus of much publicity about the exhibition ever since it arrived in New York last July, and media from coast-to-coast have revived interest in the artifact which last got such exposure when it was the subject of a major article in Sports Illustrated magazine.


fightirish1585Among the other artifacts and pictures on display are Barry McGuigan's gloves and dressing gown as well as other memorabilia loaned by The Cyclone; the legendary John L Sullivan's fur coat; a blazer specially made for Jack Dempsey; photographs from the archives of Sports Illustrated magazine, as well as classic photographs from the lens of legendary Madison Square Garden photographer George Kalinsky.

fightirish1562The collection also includes Charlie Nash's Olympic Jersey when he was fighting for Ireland; photographs of the classic Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti trilogy; and historic photos of such memorable Irish fighters as John L Sullivan, Jerry Quarry, Jack Dempsey, Jay Tunney, James J Corbett, James J Braddock, Bill Conn, Jimmy McLarlin, Gerry Cooney, Barry McGuigan and Bobby Cassidy, just to name a few.

A non-stop showing of famous fights in the Center's theatre is a popular attraction for boxing fan visitors to the exhibition.


Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of Celtic Warriors is on exhibition for three months through November 30.

There will also be a series of special events commemorating the Celtic warrior held in conjunction with the exhibition, including An Evening with Barry McGuigan and Friends.

Brian Byrne.