Press Release: Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park

Visitors to Dún na Sí Heritage Park in Moate recently received an insight into the craft and skill of using earth and lime mortar when the replastering and repair of the replica Famine Bothan in the Park took place.

The repair works were carried out by experienced stonemason, Tom Pollard, along with his team Niall and Theo. The works were part of a Creative Ireland project, part- funded by Westmeath Arts.

As part of the project, a group of students from 6th class in St. Oliver Plunkett’s National School visited the Park and received an educational workshop from Tom and the team, before getting to try the craft for themselves. Members of the Moate Men’s Shed also visited the team throughout the project and were very interested in finding out more about the traditional methods being carried out.

Dún na Sí Heritage Park in Moate aim to preserve skills and traditions like these so that they can be passed down and enjoyed by future generations. Make sure to visit the Park throughout the season and see the completed project for yourself!

 

We are delighted to welcome our two newest arrivals to the Heritage Park, Peggy & Sue. they arrived with us on the 16th of May at just two months old.

They can be found at their pig sty when you visit us, they are very friendly and no doubt they will give everyone a warm welcome.

We are happy to announce the opening of our new Café, Lillymays at Dún Na Sí.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Frank, Donna & all the staff at Lillymays for all the hard work they put in throughout the opening process. The café is a huge asset to the Park and we are delighted to have them with us!

Lillymays at Dún Na Sí is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm, serving tea/coffee, snacks and sandwiches’

We are delighted to announce that we have recently been awarded a Green Flag.

The 2021 Green Flag Awards were announced today, Wednesday 17th of November 2021, by An Taisce Environmental Education, acknowledging Ireland’s best public parks and gardens.

International accreditation for public park excellence in Ireland has increased again this year, to reach over 100 accredited public green spaces. Ireland was today awarded a total of 103 Green Flag sites, comprised of 84 formal public Green Flag Park sites, along with 19 volunteer run Green Community Sites.

We are very proud to receive the award, and acknowledge the hard work and dedication put in by management, staff, volunteers, and the local community to accomplish this achievement.

This year over 2,300 public sites in 16 countries around the World have achieved Green Flag or Green Flag Community Award status. Once again more Green Flag Awards have been secured by Irish Parks and Gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996.

The Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. In Ireland the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

For more information on the Green Flag Award click here.

This week we launched the first part of the Dún na Sí Memory Project.

The first part of the project consists of intergenerational interviews between grandparents and grandchildren, whereby they share memories about their childhood, their experiences of growing up in rural Ireland, and the impact that Covid-19 has had on their lives. Liam Handy and his grandson Tom, and Nancy and Pat Claffey and their granddaughter Hannah Higgins took part in these interviews, which were produced by Studio93.

The aim of the Dún na Sí Memory project is to create a contemporary memory collection to build a memory and local oral history archive for many generations to come within the region. Dún na Sí Heritage Park was initially created to preserve and share the stories and traditions of the Irish rural past, a guiding force which it carries out to this day through replica traditional buildings, educational displays, guided tours, music, dance, and storytelling.

The interviews are available to watch on our Youtube channel.

This project is kindly supported by Westmeath County Council and Creative Ireland.

There are many community employment (CE) opportunities available in Dún na Sí and the Moate area! Dún na Sí owes a lot of its CE workers for helping to maintain the Parks and centre!

The benefits of community employment include:

  • You get to work in your local community
  • Class “A” weekly PRSI contributions
  • CE is temporary, part time employment, just 19.5hrs per week
  • It is possible to pursue third level or vocational degrees
  • Training is provided: Manual handling, health and safety, first aid etc
  • It is a stepping stone to employment
  • Participants can take up other part time work during the CE placement

For more information on the community employment programme, watch the video here.

We were delighted to welcome Donal Skehan to Dún na Sí on Tuesday the 21st of September. Donal visited the Park as part of his Irish Adventures with Tourism Ireland, which is an eight-part TV series showcasing an “active holiday” in Ireland. During his visit to the Park, Donal learned how to Céilí Dance!

For more information on Donal’s Irish Adventures, click here.

FleadhFest is an exciting initiative being undertaken by Comhaltas Units during 2021, in circumstances when normal Fleadh Cheoil activity is not possible.

FleadhFest is the story of Comhaltas told from the point of view of each County and Province – the story of the people, community and culture which sustains our traditions of music, song, dance, storytelling and language, ensuring it is a living tradition which can be passed on to future generations.

The following video is Moate’s branch of Comhaltas’ contribution, telling the story behind the branch. Make sure to keep an eye out for local people both past and present!

To watch the video click here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2qRNsEApsg

Find more information about Comhaltas here.

National Heritage Week 2021 is happening from the 14th-22nd August.

To celebrate, we are running 2 FREE guided tours of Dún na Sí Heritage Park daily from Monday the 16th – Friday the 2oth of August.

Let us take you on a journey  back in time and experience what life was like in rural Ireland throughout the past! Learn more about the folklore, mythology and storytelling of the farming communities over hundreds of years, and hear about the fascinating rural traditions that have been preserved and passed down through many generations.

The tours will take place at 11am and 2pm each day, with limited spaces available.

To book your space on a tour, email heritageweek@dunnasi.ie or call 090-6481183.

We are excited to launch a unique new public memory project, and are looking for collaborators who would like to work with us on this new activity! The Dún na Sí Memory Project aims to gather, commemorate, and celebrate a new collection of rural inter-generational oral history memories from people living in the locality, wider community, and region.

To begin the project, we are looking to work with interested grandparents and grandchildren, who would be filmed together for a short casual interview about their childhoods, and the differences between this experience in the past and today. The interviews will result in the production of a number of short videos, which will be shared and preserved for future consultation as part of the wider Dún na Sí Memory Archive. This is a special opportunity for two generations of a family to uniquely mark their place in the history of the Midlands for future generations to appreciate!

The Dún na Sí Heritage Park was initially created to preserve and share the stories and traditions of the Irish rural past, a guiding force which it carries out to this day through replica traditional buildings, educational displays, guided tours, music, dance, and storytelling. Over the years that the Park has been in place, a visit to the Heritage Park has served as a memory prompt for thousands of visitors, who are often eager to share their own personal experiences of living in a rural Irish farming landscape. Over the years, the Park employees have heard wonderful memories and experiences from members of the local community and the wider public, but these have unfortunately gone officially undocumented for the future. In their role as a community heritage centre, Dún na Sí are beginning The Dún na Sí Memory Project to carry out contemporary memory collection to build a memory and local oral history archive for the organisation and region.

The Dún na Sí Memory Project is kindly supported by Westmeath County Council and the Creative Ireland initiative. Dún na Sí would love to hear from potential participants who would like to share their stories with us. Enquiries regarding the project can be made by contacting General Manager Donna Gilligan at 090 64 81183, or via email at memoryproject@dunnasi.ie .

Follow us on our social media for updates on this special project!

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