Updated: Apr 4, 2019
Visit to two communities in the west (Connemara) on Friday 15th February
At the invitation of Éamon O’ Cúiv TD, CCJ members, Senan Cooke & Seamus Goggin left Waterford early and headed to Galway where they met Michael O’Neill; secretary and founding member of Connemara West, who has an unparalleled record and legacy in community activism.
Corr na Móna and Letterfrack, two communities 50km apart were visited to see developments first hand. Developments and issues were discussed about the community and social enterprises that will be helpful to other projects.
The first stop on the rainy Friday was Corr na Móna (anglicised to Cornamona), a picturesque village on the northern banks of Lough Corrib in Joyce Country just south of Maam valley. Corr na Móna is part of the Gaeltacht in Joyce Country, and of the possible future geopark.
After short break for lunch at the Peacock Hotel, Maam Cross with Deputy Ó Cuív, they travelled along the west side of the Connemara loop through the Inagh Valley between the Maumturk mountains and the Twelve Bens, then passed Kylemore abbey and on to Letterfrack. Letterfrack (Irish: Leitir Fraic meaning "The Speckled Hill”) was founded by Quakers in the mid-19th century and lies at the head of Ballinakill harbour.
It was a fantastic experience. Both communities were very successful with regeneration projects which required massive effort and organisation over a long number of years(1960- 2019). It was heartwarming to see the creativity and innovation involved; and the massive amount of voluntary labour and commitment. The extraordinary vision and courage of those leading the projects was an inspiration.
The development projects seen were outstanding and information shared was very valuable and it is hoped to be disseminated in case study format around the country through our quarterly CCJ Newsletter.
It was certainly worth the long drive from Dunhill, Co. Waterford; the return journey seemed much shorter as the enthusiastic discussion about the shared information continued. They both look forward to sharing their findings in our CCJ Summer newsletter.