21 November 2014

Even the glamorous and famous
need love and crave approval

The exhibition on Marilyn Monroe runs for a week in Newbridge (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

I was badly in need of a B12 injection this week, and the foggy, misty morning have been playing silly games with my lungs and my symptoms of sarcoidosis. I expected to have to queue a long time at my GPs after leaving work late yesterday evening, but to my delight I was seen quickly, and hope the injection takes effect soon.

Late this morning, two of us drove along the shores of the lakes at Blessington and Poulaphouca in West Wicklow and north Kildare. I had never been in Pulaphouca House beside the reservoir, and thought it might be an interesting place for lunch.

But by the time we arrived in seemed to be closed, and so we continued to drive along the shoreline, with the promise of a return visit.

The lakes and the reservoir were formed between 1937 and 1947 by damming the River Liffey at Poulaphouca as part of the Electricity Supply Board’s project to build a second Irish hydroelectric station, following the building of Ardnacrusha on the River Shannon.The reservoir is one of two major sources of Dublin’s water supply, the other is the Vartry Reservoir in east Wicklow.

Between 1938 and 1940, 76 houses were demolished, and the bridges at Humphreystown, Baltyboys and Burgage blown up, in anticipation of the flooding of the valley for the Poulaphouca hydroelectric power station.

We returned back by Russborough House to Blessington, and then decided to turn down to Naas and to continue on to Newbridge, Co Kildare, where we had lunch in Silver Restaurant before visiting the Museum of Style Icons in the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre.

A first visit to the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

I have little or no interest in style, fashion or jewellery, but Ryan Tubridy had been talking on his show this morning about the latest exhibition on Marilyn Monroe, and this is certainly the sort of museum I have never visited before.

I was surprised to learn that the Museum of Style Icons is now rated as one of the top five free tourist attractions in Ireland. The museum regularly hosts visiting collections from around the world and hosts numerous collections and artefacts relating to the lives of the Stars of the Silver Screen and many modern day artists.

They include Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Grace, Maureen O’Hara, Ava Gardner, Jayne Mansfield, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Michael Flatley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan and many more.

A postcard to Audrey Hepburn’s father in Dublin from his grandson in Switzerland (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

I never knew that Audrey Hepburn’s father once lived in Merrion Square Dublin; I had forgotten how young Princess Diana was when she married; and I wondered in an idle but humorous moment why the items relating to Elizabeth Taylor were nor exhibited beside those from Michael Jackson.

‘The Lost Archives of Marilyn Monroe’ is an exhibition for one week only in Newbridge. The exhibition began today (21 November) and continues until next Friday (28 November).

This is the only European exhibition of the items before they are auctioned in Hollywood on 5 and 6 December. The exhibit includes a selection of love letters sent to her and that were found under her bed after she died.

The exhibition includes tender, sensitive and moving love letters exchanged by Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

The collection is a remarkable look into the private life of Marilyn Monroe and features many personal items never before seen by the public. This collection was originally given to her mentor and coach Lee Strasberg who later were given as gifts to a friend. They include love letters, photographs and personal items, and these mementos offer a rare glimpse into her private life.

The collection was stored away until recently and includes love letters written to Marilyn Monroe from her third husband Arthur Miller. These sensitive and moving love letters, written during their courtship and marriage, are personal, emotional and captivating, and in these letters Arthur Miller expresses his love and encourages a despairing Marilyn Monroe.

It was a step back in time, but also a reminder of how even the glamorous and famous need love and crave approval.

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