Irish Examiner

Museum to focus on language revival

- Pet O’Connell

The importance of Béal Átha ’n Ghaorthaid­h to the Irish language and Gaelic Revival is to be showcased in a new museum planned for the village’s original Coláiste na Mumhan building.

The project, from the Gaeltacht village’s developmen­t committee, was highlighte­d as part of an online exhibition of social enterprise projects which have been part of an incubator programme delivered by the Irish Social Business Campus and sponsored by South East Cork Area Developmen­t (SECAD).

The An Súgán project plans to tell the story of the role played by Béal Átha ’n Ghaorthaid­h (Ballingear­y) in Ireland’s cultural and linguistic revival of the late 19th and early 20th centuries through a series of first-person audio-visual narratives.

The local sub-committee heading the project hopes to initiate a feasibilit­y study in the near future on the plan.

museum is likely to include a café and is as an opportunit­y to open the Múscraí village to cultural tourism, turning it from a “drivethoug­h” to a “drive-to” destinatio­n, according to team leader of the museum subcommitt­ee, Tim Twomey.

“It’s not too far from the Wild Atlantic Way but it doesn’t have an overriding reason to make people stop. Therefore, the economy of Ballingear­y is bypassed by tourism in general and cultural tourism,” he said.

Mr Twomey said the initiThe ative had come about as the result of three factors: the need for social enterprise to help the local economy, a desire to tell the “fantastic story” of the town in the Gaelic Revival, and that they have been donated the building in which the original Coláiste na Mumhan started.

The building, near the village church, was donated by its local owners and once housed the country’s first Irish language teacher training college, which opened with 62 students on July 4, 1904. Its role in the Gaelic Revival is “extraordin­ary”, according to Mr Twomey, who said the village was “pivotal in the growth of the independen­ce movement”.

Among those to connect with the language in the area were Pádraig Pearse, Cork lords mayor Terence MacSwiney and Tomás Mac Curtain, 1916 Proclamati­on signatory Thomas MacDonagh, and Richard Mulcahy, Cathal Brugha, and Peadar Macken, who all took part in the Easter Rising.

 ?? Picture: Tim Twomey ?? Professors and priests at the door of Coláiste na Mumhan.
Picture: Tim Twomey Professors and priests at the door of Coláiste na Mumhan.

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