The Irish seaside resort of Dublin has a wealth of history.
The city’s iconic “Beach of the East” was the site of the first European settlement, and a key part of the early modern settlement in Ireland.
It’s a haven for the arts and culture of the area, and hosts a number of internationally acclaimed museums and galleries.
Now, as part of a series on the city’s beaches, RTE has uncovered the treasures hidden within the sand.
It was here that one of the citys finest craftsmen, Thomas O’Neill, was working in 1824, making an incredible copper lamp for his new home in the city.
O’Malley worked in his studio on a nearby island.
This piece was a spectacular example of O’Neil’s skills.
He worked on the copper lamp and the process behind it was a remarkable achievement.
“The lamp was made from the most beautiful of all copper and the finished product was a beautiful gold color,” he said.
The lamp, made from copper and gold, is one of a number that are thought to be in the Dublin Art Museum.
“It is the only lamp in Ireland that was made in this way,” said Professor Thomas Kelly, who specialises in the history of Irish art.
The lamps’ creators, Thomas and Elizabeth O’Malleys, were both masters of the art of copper-making.
Thomas O’Brien was the first Irish-born British artist and one of only four known to have made his home in Ireland, and one that’s held onto his name.
The couple’s son, Edward, now 75, died in January this year, aged 83.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and his four children.
“It’s just one of those things that, when you have a family, it’s always nice to get back to the place where you were born,” Professor Kelly said.
“And I think he would have loved it.
I think it’s one of his most significant accomplishments.”
The O’Neills were well known for their work on the arts in Dublin and for the work of Irish artists in London, including Lord Byron and Charles Dickens.
Their work was the focus of a significant exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2007.
“Their work, they were very well known and they had a reputation,” Professor Thomas said.
But it wasn’t just the works they created that made them famous, it was the way they presented them.
“They were very prolific and they would go to the shops and they’d make the lamps out of the materials they had and the wood,” Professor O’Kelly said.
“They’d put them in the shop, they’d put the lamp in the lampshade, and they put the picture on it and then they would put the copper on top of it.
They would put a picture on the lamp and they could put the book on the bottom of the lamp.”
Professor Kelly said this is what made them a hugely influential figure in Irish art and culture.
“I think what really sets them apart is their ability to create something and then be very conscious of the context,” he explained.
“That’s one thing that makes them so great, their ability not only to work with materials, but also to think through the context.”
The museum’s collection includes the original lamp, a number from the collection of the O’Reilly brothers, as well as some more contemporary works from the Omalley family, such as a copper lamp made in 1856, a piece of copper lamp work from 1858, and another copper lamp, which was made a century later.
“A lot of these objects are really interesting and quite rare and we are really interested in finding out what these people had to say about what they were working on,” Professor Shannon O’Connor, a curator at the collection, said.RTE has also been given access to a collection of copperware dating back to 1854, including a piece made by the OMalleys.
Professor Kelly hopes the Irish Museum of Ireland will be able to find a piece that speaks to the history and legacy of the family.
“There is so much that goes into the collection and the way in which they work and the culture of Dublin,” he added.
“So we hope that the museum can take this as a platform for their heritage and also for Irish artists who were working in Ireland at the time.”
The Irish Museum will be exhibiting the collection at the RTE Art in Ireland Festival, which runs until November 19.