Speaking at the launch of the picture book to coincide with World Book Day on March 3rd, the manager of the project, Shane O’Reilly of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “This new book offers a unique glimpse into Ireland’s past, showcasing the detail and beauty of traditional Irish salmon flies and the wide range of materials and techniques used by Irish fly dressers at the time. Many of those fly dressers are now revered around the world for the quality of their craft, so this collection is of significant cultural importance too, and is now available for the next generation to discover.”
Over a hundred years after the Cork International Exhibition took place, interest in the collection was re-ignited by angling author, the late E.J. ‘Ted’ Malone, who described the collection as a “long lost treasure of Irish Angling”. Malone worked alongside Peter Kealey and Peter Dunne, all fly tying experts, to meticulously examine, photograph and record the various fly dressings. Sadly, Ted Malone passed away in 2017 and the book is dedicated to his memory.
Over 380 individual salmon flies have been catalogued for this project, representing twenty fishery districts such as Galway, Ballina, Killarney, Dublin, Ballyshannon and Lismore. These flies were often ‘dressed’ for use on specific rivers or lakes, with subtle differences in hue and colour to reflect what was believed to be the best pattern on that fishery, at a particular time of year.