A few years ago, Bobby Campion, a Co Laois publican, paid €120 for a photograph at a Sheppard's auction. It showed Irish first World War veterans, including his granduncle Jack Moyney, attending a Remembrance Sunday church service in Co Tipperary in the 1960s.
As collectors know well, such a purchase can lead to years of absorbing research. Campion has since acquired other memorabilia and created a fascinating permanent exhibition about the life and exploits of Jack Moyney. The exhibition, in a snug of his rambling pub, Bob's Bar in Durrow, Co Laois, will be formally launched this afternoon by journalist Kevin Myers, an expert on Irish involvement in the first World War.
In September 1917, Moyney, a 22-year-old from Rathdowney, Co Laois serving with the Irish Guards on the Western Front, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the British army's highest honour. The reasons why, and what happened next, can be seen in the exhibition which also illustrates how collecting historical memorabilia can bring the past to life in an accessible way.