What is Celtic Community Link?
Meaning ‘inter-regional’, INTERREG, which is financed through the European Regional Development Fund, is an EU Community programme that aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion by promoting international and cross-border co-operation. The Ireland Wales Territorial Co-operation Programme 2007-2013 (INTERREG 4A) aims to further develop Irish Welsh co-operation in the areas of employment, innovation, climate change and sustainable development.
Celtic Community Link is a Rural Development Initiative based in South Tipperary & Waterford and Carmartenshire in Wales. The project sought to determine the best method for the Third Sector to provide services to rural areas so that volunteers, community champions or potential social entrepreneurs do not have to travel to urban areas. Thus encouraging a greater uptake of volunteering and social enterprise activity in rural communities and thereby improving their sustainability.
In Ireland, the main office and hub was in Tipperary with outreach centres established in Ardmore, Ballyduff Upper and Portlaw in Waterford and Cappawhite, Killenaule and Fethard in South Tipperary. The services themselves were delivered from the premises of the centres outlined above.
Main aims of the project are:
- To establish pilot outreach centres based in the project target communities.
- To identify gaps in service and information provision in the project target area.
- Provide rural communities with access to services and information in their own community through the use of innovative information technology.
- To provide a link between neighbouring communities to encourage the sharing of information and experise necessary for development.
- To improve the competitive advantage of rural communities.
- To encourage active participation by all members of communities in their own social and economic development
The project helped to develop new community projects such as the Knockmealdown Mountains project, promote better delivery of advice and services that are self sustaining and help provide equal access and sustainability for rural areas. The joint working and information dissemination between both regions has added to the body of knowledge and created new solutions through the knowledge and networks created.
Some of the Projects developed during the lifespan of the project included:
- The Knockmealdowns Mountains
- Digital Recollections
- Gaelach Gorm Festival
- Eigse Festival
Knockmealdowns Recreational Strategy
Celtic Community Link Project Officers have worked closely with Waterford Co. Council, Waterford LEADER Partnership, the County Waterford Community Forum, South Tipperary Development Company along with support from Failte Ireland and farming representative bodies to implement recreational strategies for the Knockmealdowns region.
The aim of the project was to work as a group to maximise the tourism potential of the Knockmealdowns. The intention was to develop a coordinated approach to the provision and enhancement of the services, attractions and infrastructure used by tourists in the Knockmealdowns.
Communities in the Knockmealdowns catchment area are working together to:
- Co-ordinate all tourism activities and services in the area as a one stop shop for visitors.
- Enhance the tourism experience for visitors to the area.
- Increase economic activity and support job creation in the tourism sector.
- Ensure the sustainable development of the Knockmealdowns.
- Create a destination catering for all holiday needs.
Digital Recollections Project
In 1937-1938, the National Schools Irish Folklore Study was conducted. This involved national school children documenting the heritage, culture and traditions of local areas by interviewing the elderly in their locality.
Muintir na Tire in association with South Tipperary Development Company are replicating the Folklore study, incorporating 13 national schools in South Tipperary to document the narratives of the elderly in their locality using digital equipment, thus preserving local traditions and culture.
The project is socially inclusive as national school children will be learning the heritage of their areas from their peers while both the school children and the elderly are familiarizing themselves with modern technology.
The footage recorded by national schools will be edited and uploaded onto a website. It is envisioned that the documented material could be used in the development of local heritage tourism.
In conjunction with Fastrack to Information Technology (FIT), we provided IT training to in excess of 200 people with no prior IT training aged 55 or over/unemployed and disadvantaged in Waterford and South Tipperary. The training comprised of 3 two hour training sessions. 4 of the 6 hours of training involved setting up an email account, sending emails with attachments, using search engines and booking tickets online. The other 2 hours provided training in relation to online banking, social networking and digital photography.
Gaelach Gorm Festival
The CCL Project Officer in Waterford supported Kill Community Centre in identifying a viable project that fitted with the artistic ethos of the Centre. Funding was applied for under the Arts Council Small Festivals Grant Scheme and Kill Community Centre received €3000 for the First Annual Gealach Gorm Singer/Songwriter Festival in Kill. This event took place in February 2012 and was a resounding success, attracting artists from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and the USA.
Éigse is a celebration of life in the Breac Gaeltacht of Newcastle, much of it through the substantial writings about the life and times of Shéamais Ó Maolchathaigh. The group holds an annual Festival celebrating all things relating to Gaelic language and heritage. The group is headquartered in the ‘Músaem’ building in the centre of Newcastle village.
In the beautiful setting of South Tipperary you will have a unique opportunity with other interested and motivated people to experience the strong cultural heritage of Newcastle, the ‘only’ (former) Breac-Ghaeltacht in all of Tipperary, located at the foothills of the majestic Knockmealdown Mountains on the banks of the River Suir.