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Merry-go-round recalls summer days at the seaside in Donegal

Donegal seaside carousel could fetch up to €16,000 when it goes under the auctioneer's hammer.
Seamus McKinney

AN unusual hand operated merry-go-round from the sea-side resort of Buncrana in Co Donegal could fetch up to €16,000 (£14,000) when it goes under the auctioneer's hammer.

The carousel was operated by the Farrell family during Buncrana's heyday when thousands of people flocked to the banks of Lough Swilly every summer.

Built in the late 19th century, it had 18 hand-carved carnival horses and two swing boats. The carousel continued in use in until the 1940s when it became obsolete as electrical hobby horses became the norm.

It goes to auction at Victor Mee Auctions in Co Cavan next Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the auction house said there had already been a lot of interest in the item which has been in the ownership of a private collector for the last 30 years.

“It is still working. It operates on a cog mechanism which can still turn. Often, it's private collectors who buy these; people who have their own mini-museums which they open up to family and friends; people who want a little piece of history,” she said.

Built in London, the carousel would have been a great favourite with Edwardian children on summer day trips to Buncrana. The spokeswoman said it was unusual to have a complete carousel as they were often broken up “scattered piece-by-piece".

“Items as exquisite as this are not put forward to public actions very often.

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