For more than a century, the McCarthys have had an intimate link with travelling circuses, the distinctive culture and traditions of the 'Big Top' in Limerick and the unique artistes and families that have kept this culture alive over the centuries, through good times and bad.
Spanning the era of William McCarthy’s Circus Field, the traditional 'build-ups' and the parade, to his son John McCarthy’s (1885-1966) institution that was the Circus Bar in Cappamore (a place where some of the most well-known international circus families regularly stored their props in the off-season), the John McCarthy Circus Archive comprising more than 400 unique circus posters and in excess of 200 photographs, many of them extremely rare was born.
This unique cultural resource enhances our knowledge of the history and development of the circus, not only in Ireland, but on the international stage also. To date, four books have been published as based on materials in this archive, and further research is planned for the near future. In keeping with the cyclical nature of circus, the John McCarthy Circus Archive continues to grow and expand, and just as one generation’s immense work is done, the next begins. The show must go on!
Community Centre Cappamore
Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th August
Saturday 17th August
Limerick City and County Council Headquarters
Community Centre, Cappamore.