Welcome to The Emigration and Diaspora Centre Project – Carna, Connemara.
This is the story of Connemara and emigration.
We are now advancing quickly with the construction work on the Center. However, we will be moving towards some of the more time consuming aspects of the building soon. The projected finishing date for the contract is April 3rd 2018. It may be sooner but we cannot be sure yet.
We had initial expectations that the official opening could take place in April/May of 2018 but we may have to move that a little forward depending on the final fit out etc of the Center. We are also hopeful that we can develop the Emigrants Remembrance Garden on the site and we would wish to have the totality of the work complete at the time of the opening.
The final date will also depend on when Mayor Walsh of Boston can make the trip.
We are honoured that the Mayor, and many others of our descendants from the United States, wish to make the trip over for the opening. We will focus in on a more definite timeline for the official opening as soon as we possibly can.
Emigrants Remembrance Garden
It has been an objective of ours since the beginning of the project that the site, which is a very scenic and symbolic location, should be fully used to the best advantage for the community and for the purposes of building up cultural and heritage links and tourism. The Emigrants and Community Garden located on the high hillock to the immediate south of the Centre has been a key element of that policy.
Our engineer, Pádraic Keena has now prepared a draft plan for the Garden and the “ball park” cost is set at well over €40,000.
The Garden would have seats, tables – possibly a performance stand from time to time – and information stands.
We have talked to the Department of the Gaeltacht (Irish language speaking regions) to advise them of a possible application for grant aid for the remembrance garden; however we must wait to get planning clarification.
In the end, it would mean that we would need more money in our own funds. So, in that regard, we are working on something of a jigsaw just now!
Registered by the State Charities Board.
We are now registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority in Ireland and our registration number is: 20150846 We had to have this Charitable Status registration as it is a condition attached to the lease of the site by the Archdiocese of Tuam.
Sound and Amplification system.
A plan is presently being prepared for a good Sound and Amplification system in the new building. This is something that is badly needed in public buildings. We have contact with people who are familiar and knowledgeable with sound systems and our engineer, Pádraic Keena, will also be involved.
Application for support for management structure.
We have recently made an application to Údarás na Gaeltachta (the Gaeltacht Regions Authority) for funding to employ a manager (trainee) to develop the project in its entirety. We are also making a case for some personnel from community schemes who would work alongside the trainee manager at the Centre.
The application comes under the terms of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Tourism Strategy which has recently been agreed.
We are a totally voluntary group. Therefore we need a person as manager who is able to work on his/her own initiative, to a substantial degree. Notwithstanding that, there would be advice and guidance available allied to the sharing of practical “on the ground” experience.
We need to keep an eye on this situation as regards paid management as it is a vitally important aspect of this project. The employments of a trainee manager also bring further responsibilities and costs as regards insurance, office equipment etc.
Over a million euro cost of present work.
When everything on the site, including professional fees is accounted for the cost will be approximately €1m. If we can go ahead with the Remembrance Garden beside the Centre, the total cost could be touching €1.1m.
That would mean that we will need over €270,000 in our own fundraising. We must bear in mind that equipment will be needed in the Centre also.
Meeting with County Council chairperson.
We had a meeting about 5 weeks ago with Councillor Eileen Mannion, the new Chairperson of Galway County Council- the local Government authority for this area. We had four matters on the agenda:
• The road leading towards the Centre – we want the County Council to take charge of that road.
• A few public lights along the roadway.
• A library provided by the Co Council in the Centre.
• The pier beside the Centre – we want the Co Council to assume full ownership of that pier and upgrade it. The pier is not on our property but it would be a good addition to the general area if it were repaired.
Use of space and adjustments.
Róisín Ní Chatháin (Keane) who developed the original plan for the Emigrants Commemorative Centre recently visited the site while on a short trip home from London where she works with BTWS Architects in Canary Wharf. Róisín made some suggestions about the use of space, light, walls etc and we will be following up on that.
Important news for anyone interested in researching their Irish ancestors. From today millions of historic personal records will be available on-line, free of charge. The records of births, marriages and deaths are being released by the General Register Office on irishgenealogy.ie.
The expanded database includes the Birth Records Indexes from 1864 to 1914, the Marriage Records Indexes from 1845 (1864 for Roman Catholic Marriages) to 1939 and the Death Records Indexes from 1864 to 1964.