The Rinnamona Research Group


Re-presenting alternative perspectives on an authoritative account of a rural community at X-PO.

The Rinnamona Research Group was comprised of descendants of  those whose lives were described in ‘Family and Community in Ireland’ (1940, 1968, 2001) by Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball and ‘The Irish Countryman’ (1937) by Conrad Arensberg, Dr Anne Byrne, (NUI Galway) and Deirdre O’Mahony

The impetus came as a result of a discovery by Dr Anne Byrne,  of the original diaries kept by anthropologist Solon Kimball when he stayed in Kilnaboy as part of the Harvard-Irish Mission. This took place from 1930 – 36, and the survey publications, are widely read and influential.  The books were source of some dispute for the subjects of the publication, and upon seeing the Mattie Rynne archival exhibition, and reading the diary account with Anne Byrne they decided to present their own representation of people and place, reproducing the relationships between families on the walls of X-PO through an installation of photographs and objects, along with the original diary written by Kimball. Interest in the exhibition drew both local people and academics to see the exhibition and add their stories to this alternative perspective on Rinnamona in the 1930s.

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See also: Revisiting and Reframing the Anthropological Archive 

and Family and Community: (Re)Telling Our Own Story