Progress being made on Connemara cultural centre

Amended plans for a project which will bring tens of thousands of visitors to Connemara have been agreed by Galway county councillors. A cultural centre and walking trail is being built adjacent to Patrick Pearse’s Cottage in Rosmuc and is due to be completed by 2016.

The €2 million development is just one of the projects commissioned to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 rising. Last year the Government announced a €22 million fund to go towards the centenary celebrations.

Pearse’s Cottage was the summer residence of Patrick Pearse, who spent a lot of time in Rosmuc between 1903 and 1915. Pearse was a teacher as well as a political activist and also used the cottage as a summer school for his pupils from St Enda’s in Dublin.

It is envisaged that the new visitor centre will serve as a cultural focal point of Connemara for both overseas and domestic visitors as well as the local community. It will be able to facilitate up to 400 visitors a day during the busy summer season. A steering group comprising stakeholders such as Údarás na Gaeltachta, Galway County Council, the OPW, Fáilte Ireland, and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has been tasked with co-ordinating the project.

Speaking at Monday’s county council meeting, local councillor Sean Ó Tuairisg said he was not that enamoured with the shape of the current design but with the 1916 celebrations fast approaching, work must go ahead. Independent councillor Seosamh Ó Cualáin said he would like to welcome developments on the project and complimented county planners for their fast, effective, work on the matter. He observed that it was the only scheme of this type taking place outside the Pale. Fianna Fáil’s Seamas Walsh said representatives would do anything they could to speed up the process. Kinvara councillor Joe Byrne, who is an engineer by trade, enquired about costings for the development. “Has a cost plan been signed off on, it looks like quite an expensive design.’’

Director of services Catherine McConnell assured councillors the project was on track to be finished by 1916. “We anticipate it will be ready. The design has been costed and Údarás assure us it will come in on budget. This design is actually marginally less expensive than the original design. We are confident we will be able to deliver a fine building we will be happy to sign off on.’’

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