Welcome to The Emigration and Diaspora Centre Project – Carna, Connemara.
This is the story of Connemara and emigration.
LOOKING FORWARD TO A GOOD YEAR IN 2018.
It’s good news at the beginning 0f 2018 in regard to the Emigrants Commemorative Centre project; work on the Centre on the site of the old Parish Hall in Carna will soon be completed. The Emigrants Commemorative Centre will be open and functioning later in 2018.
All of us are looking forward to the day when the Mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh, returns to the occasion of the official opening of the Emigrants Commemorative Centre in 2018. The Mayor laid the first stone in the foundation when he visited here in 2014 and it is a great honour for us that he is coming back across the Atlantic to put his seal on the finished job.
Of course, Mayor Walsh was installed for his second four year term as Mayor of Boston the 1st of January, 2018. We are sending the Mayor our congratulations and best wishes and we wish him many years in the higher echelons of politics in the United States.
GOOD WORK BY ALL.
A lot of work has been done on the Centre and on the construction site and our thanks goes out to Luke McNamara Construction Ltd and to Pádraic Folan (Jackie Folan Ltd –Carna), the Site Manager. The job has been led to an excellent standard by our Engineer, Pádraic Keena (Malachi Cullen Consulting Engineers) and the working Team who have worked- and continue to work – on the site and who have ensured that this is a top class job. Early April 2018 is the scheduled finish date for the completion of the work on the Centre.
With the job on the Centre moving towards completion, we acknowledge the work on the basic layout by Róisín Ní Chatháin of BPTW Architects, London and her continuing input.
MILLION EURO JOB....AND MORE.
This cost of the present contract is €875,000. However, when the initial preparation of the site, walls, roadways, services and costs such as engineering, accountancy, legal and other miscellaneous expenses are added up ...it reaches €1m. It is a heavy work load for the committee which functions on a totally voluntary basis.
Now, following a lot of work this part of the project – the key part of the project, indeed – is nearing completion. But that is not the end of the work, by any means!
The Centre has to be “fitted out” – chairs, tables, kitchen equipment, new stage etc. etc. Eileen Davis, a member of the committee has prepared a full list of what is needed. Eileen has formal qualifications and extensive experience in this field. Now, we will have to look for prices. We cannot say what the costs will be as yet but we can take it that there could be scores of thousands needed.
We will have to look for money and grant aid.
A good amplification system is a requirement in public buildings. A plan for such a system in the Centre is been drawn up. Again, money will come into the equation; it will add up to some thousands.
EMIGRANTS REMEMBRANCE ....AND COMMUNITY GARDEN.
The committee have focused from the start on making the best use of the site which is in a scenic location beside the ocean. The Emigrants Remembrance Garden – which is also planned as a community Garden – is seen as being a great addition to the site. It would be sited on the hillock to the immediate south side of the Centre. The proposed Garden includes seating, tables, pathways and information signboards. It could be the venue for outdoor events also.
We think the Garden would be a pleasant venue for local people and for visitors alike.
We estimate that it would cost between €40,000 and €50,000. Again, that is a challenge and we will be looking for grant aid for the project.
RESOURCES DICTATE ...BUT WE HAVE MOMENTUM.
As is evident from the above information a substantial amount of money is still needed to bring the project to the level we would like. We will take each step at a time and attend to the more immediate requirements first.
Now, we will have no money left over when the actual building – the Centre - is completed.
We will have to work at getting the money that is needed to give this community and the people of the hinterland – and the visitors whom it is hoped to attract – a setting that is of a high standard and comfortable for them.
However, we must keep within our resources at all times; it we cannot get the cash some aspects of the development may have to be left for the future. But we think everybody would agree that the time to do it is now ...since we have momentum.
In saying that, it would be irresponsible to leave debts on the community and on future groupings that will administer and manage the Centre and related activities . We are a voluntary committee and we know those who will follow on will be in the same boat.
Donations will be welcome along the way!
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.
BUSY PERIOD AHEAD.
It will be a busy number of months for all involved as we head for the official opening of the Centre. We intend to be able to settle on an opening date in the next few weeks. It looks like it will be close to mid-May. However, please do not hold us to that...at this stage. We have to make arrangements with Mayor Walsh and with the Department of the Gaeltacht here in Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta and other parties. And, on the site itself, we must discuss the situation in detail with our engineers and construction contractors.
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.