Press Release

Time flies - IFI displays salmon flies collection in Cork, 121 years after first exhibition in 1902

  • Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Kieran McCarthy to open new angling expo today
Shane O’Reilly of Inland Fisheries Ireland

Shane O’Reilly of Inland Fisheries Ireland 

Traditional Irish salmon flies, commissioned 121 years ago for the Cork International Exhibition in 1902, will now feature in a new museum display on the same site in Cork. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI), custodians of the vintage collection, released an online picture book featuring the rare fishing flies last year, and has now collaborated with the Cork Public Museum to bring this exhibition to the public. 

It will comprise antique fishing equipment, kindly loaned by Rory O’Hanlon, digitised angling records from the Cork Trout Anglers Club, and a display with information and historic photos of the 1902 exhibition and fishing on the River Lee.

Selection of traditional salmon flies

Selection of traditional salmon flies 

Shane O’Reilly, Angling Advisor with IFI said: “We are delighted to join forces with the Cork Public Museum on this project and hope the general public will be hooked! 

“We are making these flies accessible to new audiences, by bringing them back to the site of the original exhibition – in Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Park - where they were first viewed 121 years ago.

“The Cork Collection of Salmon Flies represents a rich and colourful legacy from our Irish angling heritage. These traditional flies, created with feathers, fur, tinsel and floss, are considered as masterpieces of the craft.

“Last year’s IFI digital publication of the collection generated widespread interest from fly fishing and fly-tying enthusiasts both in Ireland, and around the world.

“Salmon have been, and remain, an iconic wild Irish fish. However, they now face many challenges to survive in Ireland.

“IFI works proactively with anglers and local communities to protect and conserve Ireland’s wild salmon, and their habitats, for the benefit of future generations.”

Traditional salmon fly

Traditional salmon fly

The exhibition is officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy, at 5pm today in the Cork Public Museum. 

Historian Dr Tom Spalding will also speak about the 1902-1903 exhibition. 

The collection will be hosted in the museum for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024.