17th of November 2014
Belfast – Cultúrlann
Our Group left Donegal on Monday morning and made our journey to Belfast arriving at 12.30pm. We checked into our accommodation which was the Europa hotel.
We then went to the Cultúrlann, where we were greeted by Concubhar Ó Liatháin and waited for the arrival on the rest of the groups from SEALL.
We had lunch then in the cultúrlann and learned everyone’s background followed by a Tour of the Cultúrlann given by Éimear Ní Mhathúna. We learnt that An Cultúrlann produces a vibrant Arts Programme that promotes Irish language and culture while creating an attractive meeting place for tourists and locals alike.
That evening we meet for dinner in the Europa Restaurant with everyone and also Concubhar joined. We spoke more about everyone’s work background.
18th of November 2014
Maghera – An Carn
We set off to Maghera on Tuesday morning and arrived at their centre An Carn.
On arrival we met Niall who was showing us around for the day and we had some tea followed by a 2 and a half hour presentation about An Carn and its history. Carntogher Community Association was established in 1992 in order to help a range of issues – to strengthen the Carntogher Community, to help reinforce its long term economic, environmental and cultural sustainability and enhance the fabric and character of the community in the general Carntogher Area. After our lunch we had a tour on their very impressive facilities and learned about how they got their funding and how they use their workspace.
Niall then took us to see one of three wind turbines they have got funding for and afterwards we went on a tour around the Drumnaph Community Reserve which is a 80-acre section of woodland that opened in 2000 and has been well used by the local and wider community since.
19th of November 2014
Donegal Craoibhín – Comhlacht Forbartha an Tearmainn
The group came to Craoibhín community centre in Donegal and met with both myself and Mary. We gave them an introduction on what we do in the centre and let them know the centre is a community owned facility which includes a childcare centre, sports hall, all-weather pitch, gym, sauna, ICT centre, meeting rooms and commercial units for the benefit of the community as a whole, young and old. The largest space for hire is our main hall with a sprung floor stage and basement area. Our main project we are working on at the minute is setting up a local drama group as we have a stage in our main hall that we would like to see being used.
As SEALL is a lively arts promoter it was good to discuss with the group on how they run there events and deal with any issues.
We took the group on a tour of the building and showed them our electric and hybrid bikes that are run by Grassroutes, and they even took a turn on our penny-farthing. GrassRoutes was set up and is managed by Comhlacht Forbartha an Tearmainn. It is based at the Craoibhín. This community based non-profit group are seeking to create local employment by embarking on this new and innovative rural tourism project.
Before the group set off again to Belfast, we took them to visit Glenveagh National Park, where we hire out our bikes. They got to see the path which the bikes use and had a tour of the castle.