January 2022
Newsletter

Scéal maith i dtús na bliana.

Scéal maith againn dhibh ag tús na bliana 2022. Tá muid inann deimhniú a thabhairt anois go mbeidh an fhorbairt ar dhá áis eile ag shuíomh Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach ag tosaí i mbliana.

• Táthar le Ionad Taispeáintis a thógáil ar thaobh na láimhe clé – agus tú ag teacht aníos ó shráid Charna – den Ionad. Beidh eolas, áiseanna cluas-amhairc agus taispeaintisí eile a thabharfaidh léargas ar an imirce san Ionad seo.

• Beidh Gáirdín Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach dá fhorbairt ar an gcnocán ó dheas den Ionad. Beidh suíocháin agus cosáin sa nGáirdín seo agus amharc breá as, siar i dtreo an Atlantaigh. Feisteofar séadchomhartha ann freisin in omós do imirceoirí agus dá sliocht ar fud an domhain.

Dheimhnigh Príomhfheidhmeannach Údarás na Gaeltacht, Micheál Ó hÉanaigh go mbeidh an tÚdarás ag dul i mbun na hoibre seo i gcomhar le Coiste Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach. Tá cead iomlán pleanála ar fáil le haghaidh an dá thógra seo, agus le haghaidh aon obair bhreise atá ag teastáil, mar chuid den scéim oibre uilig,

Beidh na háiseanna seo ar fáil do mhuintir na háite agus don phobal.

Ní féidir aon bhuille chruinn a thabhairt faoin dáta a dtosóidh an obair seo i mbliana ach tá muid ag súil gur féidir tosaí luath go maith sa mbliain. Caithfear cuid de shuíomh Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach a dhúnadh le linn don obair seo a bheith ar bun. Chuile sheans go mbeidh an carr chlós dúnta don phobal agus go gcaithfear caranna a pháirceáil ar thaobh an bhóthair aníos as sráidbhaile Charna.

BEOCHT AGUS BORRADH I 2021.

Cé go raibh an saol thrína chéile ag an víreas Covid i rith na bliana seo caite, d’fhan beocht agus borradh faoi obair an Ionaid i 2021. Tá go leor den bhuíochas ag dul do Eileen Davis a choinnigh croí agus anam san Ionad beagbeann ar na deacrachtaí uilig.

• Mhéadaigh dualgaisí an Ionaid go mór sa méid agus gur ainmnígh Údarás na Gaeltachta é mar Ionad Diaspóra na Gaeltachta – poinnte lárnach don Diaspóra sna réigiúin Ghaeltachta. Cruthaigh sé seo páirtíocht idir Údarás na Gaeltachta agus Coiste an Ionaid i reachtáil na seirbhíse.

• Ceapadh Shane Ó Maoildhia mar Oifigeach Diaspóra Gaeltachta anseo san Ionad agus tacaíocht airgid don cheapachán sin tugtha ag Údarás na Gaeltachta. Beidh bailiú eolais do Ghréasán nua eolais faoin nGaeltacht uilig ar cheann de na dualgais a bheidh ar Shane.

• Beidh staidéar iomlán ar ghné eile den imirce as an nGaeltacht – staidéar atá molta ag Stiúrthóirí an Ionaid – ag tosaí go luath. Baineann an staidéar seo leis an gcaoi a dtéadh daoine as Gaeltachtaí éagsúla na tíre ag obair ar na monarchana biatais i Sasana san aimsir a caitheadh ó aimsir an Dara Cogadh go dtí deireadh na 1970óidí.

• Tugadh ról do Mhicheál Ó Clochartaigh i bhforbairt agus i ríarachán an Ionaid le linn na bliana mar chuid dá chúramaí mar cho-ordnaitheoir ar Phlean Forbartha 5 Bhliana Údarás na Gaeltachta sa gceantar.

Ár ndóigh, tá mísc go leor déanta ag an víreas Covid ar obair Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach, ach níor stop sé muid ónár seacht ndícheall a dhéanamh. Rinneadh an obair seo leanas i 2021 beagbeann ar Covid:

• Reachtáileadh Comhdháil Idirnáisiúnta faoi téama “Lorg Chonamara ar Pholaitíocht Mheiriceá” i mí Dheireadh Fómhair. Bhí cuid den chomhdháil san Ionad i gCarna agus tuilleadh den chomhdháil ar an gcóras fíorúil- an ríomhaire. Sé Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, Príomhfheidhmeannach Údarás na Gaeltachta a d’oscail an ócáid go hoifigiúil agus imeasc na n-aoí chainteoirí bhí: an Feisire Stáit i Maine, Margaret Craven; an tOllamh le Stair agus Údar as Portland i Maine, Michael Connolly; an Léachtóir le Dlí in Ollscoil na hÉireann i nGaillimh – agus Údar agus scribhneoir faoi pholaitíocht Mheiriceá – Larry Donnelly; Seandálaí agus Stairí, Erin Gibbons; gníomhaí polaitíochta i mBoston, Jimmy King. Bá é Máirtín Ó Catháin, cathaoirleach thionscnaimh Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach agus Diaspóra na Gaeltachta, an Cathaoirleach ar an gCómhdháil.

Reachtáileadh an Chomhdháil seo in aonturas i 2021 mar chomhartha aitheantais don stadas mór atá bainte amach ag beirt de bhunaidh na háite seo sa bpolaitíocht sna Stáit Aontaíthe – sin iad Marty Walsh (an Rúnaí Saothair i Rialtas Joe Biden) agus Denis McDonough (an Rúnaí do Chúram na n-iar shaighdiúirí i Rialtas Biden). Mar a thárla sé, níor éirigh le ceachtar acu a bheith linn sa deireadh ó thárla gur theastaigh siad chomh géar sin i Washington! Bhí Bille mór Infreastruchtúir da theorú thrí Thíthe na Cómhdhála. D’éirigh leis an mBille!

• Tá Cúrsa sa Stair Áitiúil ar bun san Ionad agus cáilíochtaí foirmeálta oideachais bainteach leis. Thosaigh sé i mí Mheán Fómhair, 2021. Tá ós cíonn scór cláraíthe ar an gcúrsa. Údarás na Gaeltachta agus Coiste Oiliúna agus Oideachais na Gaillimhe agus Ros Comáin –oifig Ros Muc - chomh maith le Ionad Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach atá ag stiuriú an chúrsa seo. Tagann cainteoirí éagsúla chuig na ranganna agus tugann siad léachtanna faoi ghnéithe éagsúla den stair.

• Leabhar bliantúil “Iorras Aithneach 2021”.
Cé nach mbaineann leabhar Iorras Aithneach le comhlacht an Ionaid, déantar go leor den obair a bhaineann leis san Ionad ó thárla spás agus áiseanna a bheith ar fáil. Is fada anois iad Coiste an leabhair ag tabhairt sintiúisí do Choiste an Ionaid. Bíonn tóir ar leith ar an leabhar bliantúil sa mbaile anseo, agus imeasc na ndaoine atá as baile ar fud na hÉireann, no thar lear. D’éirigh go maith le leabhar na bliana seo. Bheadh sé fior-thábhachtach - ar chúiseanna go leor – go leanfaí ar aghaidh ag foillsiú leabhar bliantúil “Iorras Aithneach”; tá croí an phobail ann agus tugann sé stadas agus aitheanta doh cheantar seo uilig.

AN TIONSCNAIMH CAIRDEAS.

• Leagadh an bhunchloch don scéim Cáirdeas nuair a theagmhaigh an víreas Covid don domhan uilig beagnach dhá bhliain ó shin. Eagraíodh lámh chúnta thart anseo do dhaoine a bhí sáinníthe ag an dianghlasáil. Chuir roint daoine sa gceantar lámh ina bpócaí féin agus cuireadh ciste le chéile. Tá aitheantas oifigiúil fáighte ag an tionscnaimh ó shin agus tá an Stát ag tacú leis anois. Bunaíodh comhlacht leis an tseirbhís a reachtáil.

Cuirtear áiseanna Ionad na nImirceach agus Diaspóra ar fáil le haghaidh codanna den obair agus bhí Bainisteoir Tionscnaimh an Ionaid, Eileen Davis chun tosaigh ó thús san iarracht. Cuireadh amach ionann agus 80 máilín bia agus srl ar fud an cheantair gar don Nollaig agus baineadh leas as an Ionad le haghaidh na seirbhíse sin. Tá Máirín Ní Choistealbha-Seoige (FCL) agus Bridgie McTavish ( GRETB) i lár báire freisin san iarracht seo.

Scéim iontach oibre í seo agus tá Ionad na nImirceach agus Diaspora an-bhródúil as a bheith bainteach leis.

• Tá rang fuála agus obair phaisteoireachta ar bun san Ionad le roint míonna agus cé go bhfuil an víreas Covid ag cur socruithe thrína chéile scaittí, tá ag éirí go maith leis na ranganna. Tá obair bhreá ar bun ann agus is deas an deis é ag daoine le theacht le chéile freisin.

• Táthar ag leagan amach réamhphlean le haghaidh staidéar cuimsítheach ar reiligeacha sa taobh tíre as Inis Nídh chomh fada ó dheas le Camus. Tá an tOifigeach Tionscnaimh atá againn – Eileen Davis - ar dhuine den dream atá ag iarraidh an obair seo a chur chun cinn agus táthar ag súil gur féidir airgead a fháil le n-aghaidh i mbliana. Ar ndóigh, ba bhreá an rud é do phobail ar fud an cheantair go mbeadh cuntas chomh maith ag a bhféidir ar na reiligeacha. Tá a leithéid de scéim ag luí isteach freisin le mianta agus le cuspóirí an Ionaid seo againne i gCarna; is minic go bhfáigheann daoine atá sa tóir ar a ngaolta an chéad leide futhu sa reilig áitiúil.

• Cuidíonn an tIonad Imirce agus Diaspóra leis an iarracht go dtabharfaí stadas mar bhaile seirbhísí Gaeltachta don Chlochán. Beidh an tOifigeach Tionscnaimh atá againne, Eileen Davis, ag tacú le grúpaí atá bainteach leis an iarracht sa gClochán.
Dháiríre, bhí an Clochán i gcónaí ina bhaile seirbhísí Gaeltachta mar go bhfuair muintir an taobh seo tíre seirbhísí agus earraí éagsúla ansin. Is fiú go mór tacú leis an iarracht seo le branda Gaeleach a chur ar an gClochán agus iomhá níos láidre teanga a chur air an mbaile sin.

• Bíonn ceangail rialta idir an tIonad i gCarna le gluaiseachtaí Éireannacha i Meiriceá – go háiríthe iad seo a bhfuil ceangal acu leis an nGaeltacht- ar an gcóras fíorúil. Bíonn an dream i Portland i Maine (a bhfuil ceangal foirmeálta acu leis an Ionad i gCarna) ar cheann de na dreamanna a bhíonn páiteach sa gcómhrá tras Atlantach seo. Tá clár ginealachais Gaeltachta acu ansin agus cuidíonn na ceangail rialta le Conamara leo ar an taobh eile den Atlantach.

• Ta áthas orainn gur ag comhdháil anseo cupla bliain ó shin a spreagadh beocht in athuair sna ceangail atá ag Gaeltacht Chonamara le le Stát Minnesota. Chuaigh go leor daoine as Gaeltachta Chonamara go Minnesota le linn do na scéimeanna tacaíochta imirce a bheith ar bun sna 1880óidí. Tugadh aitheantas mar chuid thábhachtach d’oidhreacht chathair St Paul don áit ar ar tugadh an “Conamara Patch” sa gcathair sin, fadó. Cuireadh comhartha ansin agus beidh a mhacasamhail sin i nGáirdín Cuimhneacháin na nImirceach le taobh an Ionad ach a mbeidh an Gáirdin sin forbartha.

• Ní féidir le IOnad a bheith Gaeleach dháiríre go brách gan cluiche cártaí 25 a bheith ann!! Tá cluiche 25 bunaithe ag an Oifigeach Tionscnaimh, Eileen Davis anois agus tá sé cloistíthe againn go bhfuil imirt ghéar ann agus an-spraoi ann lena chois sin. Go mba fada mar sin é.

CÚRSAÍ AIRGEADAIS.

Ceist mhór é an tairgead i gcónaí in iarrachtaí den chineal seo. Tá dhá iasacht le n-íoc ar ais.

• Baineann ceann acu leis an áisíneacht airgeadais sóisialta, “Clann Credo”. Beifear ag déanamh na haisíocaíochta sin faoi cheann cupla seachtain.

• Iasacht phearsanta atá sa gceann eile a tugadh don Choiste ionann agus 4 bliana ó shin. Tá suim réasúnta mór i gceist ansin. Táthar ag súil go n-aisíocfar an iasacht sin i mbliana ach teastaíonn plean cinnte le láimhsiú a dhéanamh ar an gcás sin má bhíonn moill mhór i gceist.

AN BHLIAIN SEO AMACH ROMHAINN.

Sí an chuspóir mhór ná go gcuirfí tús gan mhoill le méadú an Ionaid agus réiteach an Gháirdín ar an gcnocán. Ní dóigh go dtiocfaidh mórán cuairteoirí – as tíortha thar lear ar aon nós – i mbliana de bharr an víris Covid. Ach caithfidh muid breathnú chun cinn. Beidh pleananna le leagan amach agus staidéar le déanamh ar na bealaí a gcuirfear na pleananna sin i gcrích.

Rud an-tábhachtach eile: tá iarrachtaí ar bun le súil agus go mbeidh córas buan airgeadais againn sa gcaoi agus gur féidir an fhoireann oibre a mhéadú de réir a chéile. Ba cheart go dtabharfadh 2022 barúil níos fearr dúinn faoin toradh a bheidh ar an iarracht sin.

BUN CHUSPÓIRí AN IONAID .

Ní féidir linn a ligean i ndearmad go brách go raibh údar an-mhór le tógáil an Ionaid – sin ómós a thabhairt do na himircigh agus a sliocht agus a gcuimhne a choinneail beo agus slán i gcónaí. Ar ndóigh, tá ceangal leis an Diaspóra mar cheann de phríomh pholasaíthe Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Lena chois sin uilig, bhíothas ag iarraidh go gcuideodh an tIonad le saol an phobail seo, agus saol phobal na Gaeltachta ar chuile bhealach; caithfear coinneail ag obair i dtreo na sprice sin
Go raibh saol maith agaibh uilig i 2022 agus go mba fearr a bheidh sin an t-am seo aríst.  

GOOD NEWS TO BEGIN THE YEAR.

Good news at the beginning of 2022. We can now confirm in this news update that the development of two significant additions to the Emigrants and Diaspora Centre project will go ahead this coming year
An Exhibition Hall is to be added to the Centre to the immediate south of the present building, that is the left hand side of the Centre as you approach it from the main road in Carna village. This will be an Exhibition area that will house a range of memorabilia and exhibition points which will tell the story of our emigrants and their descendants.

An Emigrants Remembrance Garden – incorporating a community Garden – will be developed on the hillock just to the south of the Centre. This development will include seating and viewing areas in a raised area overlooking the Atlantic. It will also have a walkway and an appropriate memorial to honour our emigrants and their descendant.

Micheál Ó hÉanaigh, Údarás na Gaeltachta CEO (Michael Heaney, CEO of the Authority for the Irish speaking regions in Ireland) has confirmed to this newsletter that Údarás na Gaeltachta will initiate this work in tandem with the Emigrants and Gaeltacht Diaspora Centre Board. There is already full planning permission available for these two projects, and for all ancillary work that will be needed on the site. While it is certainly intended that these development are aimed at bringing more visitors to the Centre, the new facilities will be available to local people and to visitors, alike.

It is not possible, at the time of writing, to make a judgement as to how soon work on the new developments will get underway on the site; we are hoping that very significant progress can be made in the earlier part of the year.

However, we would point out that some of the site will be closed off during the construction phase. One could envisage that the car park area will be closed and this will mean that cars have to be parked along the roadway from Moran’s Bar and Shop as far as the main gateway to the Centre.

The new phase of the work at the Centre site will involve investment of approximately half a million euro, and the spin-off in social and economic terms in future years will reach many multiples of that.

SIGNIFICANT YEAR DESPITE COVID CRISIS

The Emigrants and Diaspora Centre team certainly took on the challenges posed by the Covid virus last year. Despite the many difficulties that arose, the Centre maintained a vibrancy, all through 2021. Eileen Davis is due great credit; she was at the heart and soul of everything in the Centre during 2021.

There was significant activity ….

The Emigrants and Diaspora Centre took on a much greater role than heretofore insofar as it was named by Údarás na Gaeltachta as the focal point of its Diaspora Policy. From now on, the Centre will be known as the Gaeltacht Emigrants and Diaspora Centre; this brings Údarás na Gaeltachta into a partnership with the Emigrants Centre Board and committee in the administration and development of the service.

• Shane Ó Maoildhia has been appointed a Diaspora Development Officer in the Centre with grant aid from Údarás na Gaeltachta for his employment. Shane’s work will feed into the general accumulation of knowledge about the Gaeltacht Diaspora and also feed into a website which is being developed as part of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Diaspora policy.

• An initiative by the Emigrants Centre Board and Management will also see a project about the British Sugar Company’s recruitment of Gaeltacht area workers, in the past. These men were recruited in most Gaeltacht counties from the post-World War Two period onwards until the late 1970ies. This promises to provide a picture of a significant segment of Gaeltacht seasonal emigration in the latter half of the 20th Century.

• Micheál Ó Clochartaigh has been seconded to the Centre for a period of time each week as part of his role in the co-ordination of the Údarás na Gaeltachta 5 Year Plan for the Carna/Cill Chiaráin community.

• The Centre has provided a base for people who were taking part in TÚS and FÁS schemes to obtain further skills and training – these are State supported schemes.

PROGRESS CONTINUES.

The Covid crisis has, off course, curtailed the work towards attaining the objectives of the Emigrants Centre, but it has not stopped progress.

The following activities were held in 2021 despite challenges due to Covid arising time and again:

• A major international conference on the “Imprint of Connemara on American Politics” was held here in October. That Conference was held partially in the Centre and partially online. The Conference was officially opened by Micheál Ó hÉanaigh, CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta (Michael Heaney – CEO of the Authority for the Irish Speaking Regions in Ireland) and the guest speakers included State Representative Margaret Craven from the State of Maine; Professor of History and Author, Michael Connolly from Portland, Maine; Larry Donnelly, Professor Law at NUIG and author and columnist on American Politics; Erin Gibbons, Archaeologist and Historian and Jimmy King, political activist in Boston. The Chairman (Moderator) was Máirtín Ó Catháin (Martin Keane) – Chairperson of the Emigrants Centre project.

The Conference was especially convened in 2021 to mark the attainment of of high office in the United States for two descendants of this area – Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of Labour Affairs in President Biden’s Government and the appointment of Denis McDonough as Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Biden Government. As it happened – unfortunately – neither could make an input, as planned into the Conference. The reason for their absence underlines the status of both of those high ranking descendants of Connemara in Washington: they were needed to bolster the effort to bring a huge infrastructure Bill through the Houses of Congress in Washington that very weekend. The Bill was passed into law.

• A Course in Local History, which is at QQI Level 5 educational status, is ongoing in the Centre since September of 2021. The attendance registration is greater than twenty and is funded by Údarás na Gaeltachta with input from the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board and the Emigrants and Diaspora Centre. A list of well-known speakers have given talks at the weekly classes and the course will continue into the springtime of 2022.

• The Iorras Aithneach Yearbook.
While there is a separate Yearbook committee, the actual work involved in producing the publication was carried out in the Centre where space was available for that purpose. The Yearbook has been making financial contributions to the Centre for a long number of years. The Yearbook has a notable role in many ways in the community: It is always welcome in the Christmas period and is much sought after by the Community at home and by people across Connemara, as well as emigrants from this area. This year’s publication was very successful and we all hope it will be published for many years to come. However, help will be needed.

PARTICIPATION IN THE ”CAIRDEAS” PROJECT.

• The forerunner of this project was a community effort in the early stages of the Covid crisis, now almost two years ago. A helping hand for people seriously discomfited by the Covid restrictions was opened up and involved contributions of money by a number of individuals. Since then, the project has attained official recognition and funding from the State and a company has been formed.

The Emigrants Centre has played its part from the beginning and Centre Project Manager, Eileen Davis, has been to the fore in driving the service on. It is very noteworthy that the packing and arrangements of season parcels for many people in the community was arranged in the Centre in the pre-Christmas period. Almost 80 parcels were delivered to homes and individuals across the community. Máirín Ní Choisdealbha- Seoige from Forbairt Chonamara Láir (Community Services company in the area) and Bridgie McTavish from the Galway Roscommon Training and Education Board have played a leading role in this project – a very fine and laudable service and our Centre group is proud to have been associated with it.

“Cairdeas” means friendship.

• A Sewing and Patchwork class has also been ongoing in the Centre for a number of months and though occasionally interrupted by the Covid situation it has proven a great outlet for many people.

• An initial plan has been drawn-up for a comprehensive study and mapping of graveyards in the area extending from Inishnee to Camus which takes in the immediate area here locally. Our Projects Officer, Eileen Davis has again being a leading proponent of this project and it is hoped to find the finance needed to initiate, pursue and complete the process. We hope this happens in 2022. While an excellent community service this project also ties in with our ultimate objectives in the Emigrants Centre part of which would be the pursuance of genealogical information and guidance.

• The Emigrants and Diaspora Project is associated with the effort to develop Clifden as a “Gaeltacht Services Centre”. Our Projects Officer, Eileen Davis is working on linking groups that are relevant to the project. This Centre fully supports the development of Clifden as a Gaeltacht (Irish –Gaelic speaking region - Services Centre.

In reality, Clifden has always been a services centre for this part of the Connemara Gaeltacht; this ranges into many sectors such as economic activity, services, shopping and social. It is, off course, very desireable that a concentrated effort would be made to bring a further emphasis on the importance of the Irish language in a services town such as Clifden. The support of the Chamber of Commerce and its President, John Sweeney, is vital cog in the wheel – a wheel which is now going in the right direction.

• Our Centre, through its participation in links such as the fortnightly online conversations with representatives of the Irish community in Portland, Maine and other centres across the United States continues to support and guide those who are seeking relatives, or genealogical information about their Irish background.

• We are proud to have become strongly associated with the new emphasis on the role of Gaeltacht emigrants in Minnisota who left as part of the Assisted Emigration projects of the 1880ies. The “Connemara Patch” in St Paul in Minnisota has been recognized in 2021 for its heritage value by the Municipal Authorities in that. We are proud that this effort, and the connections leading to the St Paul initiative last year, were nurtured at a Conference here in the Emigrants Centre.

• No community is ever really Irish without a ’25 Card Game!! Eileen Davis has started off games of ’25 – which we hear are entertaining and competitive – in the Centre with a solid cohort of players around the table.

FINANCES.
Money is never far from being one of the main considerations in projects like this. There are two loans outstanding:

• A repayment to the Clann Credo – a social finance agency – will be made in the coming weeks. That will clear that loan – approx. €5,000.

• A personal loan, of a significant sum of money, has been outstanding over the past 4 years. It is hoped to get this loan repaid this year but a contingency plan needs to be put in place to deal with any inordinate delay.

THE YEAR AHEAD.
The big objective is to have the extension and Garden projects up and running. Given the present situation with Covid it looks unlikely that there will be any large number of visitors this year. But we have to plan for better times and engage in different strategies and service. That will be a day-to-day practical matter in the Centre.

Efforts are actively afoot to establish a more long term staff funding system for the centre. This coming year may give us a good indication as to how this will work out.

THE BIGGER PICTURE.
In the cut and thrust of everyday activity we can never forget that the Emigrants and Diaspora Centre was built – and is being further developed – as a tribute to our emigrants and to their descendants all over the world. Links with the Diaspora are a core part of the Údarás na Gaeltachta strategy.
Neither can we forget that the driving motivation must be to make life – be it social, economic, cultural or otherwise –better for the people of this area and the Gaeltacht in general.
We are sending our best wishes for a happy and successful New Year to our friends at home and across the oceans.
May the year 2022 give us a path towards better times in future years.  

Address

Emigrants and Diaspora Centre Office
c/o Údarás na Gaeltachta House,
Carna, Connemara,
Co. Galway
Ireland 

Contacts

Email: foram@eircom.net
Phone (Secretary):
+353 87 3983189
Phone (Chairman):
+353 87 2515352