An tIonad – The Centre

The concept of the Diaspora and Emigrants Centre is to link together the people of this community and region here at home and abroad…and their descendants.

St. Mary's Church, Carna
St. Mary’s Church, Carna

We now intend building this centre at the site of the old Parish Hall in Carna village. This was a primary school at one time before it was converted into a parish hall. It has many memories for the people of the parish both at home and abroad. It has fallen into a delapidated state following a fire that caused serious damage five years ago.

It is intended that the new Centre will be built on the footprint of the old Hall and will comprise the following facilities:

  • An Information Library about family and local history;
  • an Emigrants Remembrance Garden;
  • a Room overlooking the Atlantic dedicated to neighbourliness, folklore, conversation, local history and culture. This will include a Tea/Coffee café;
  • Internet facilities for the public and for visitors;
  • a hall suitable for events such as dances, concerts, drama, sports and other community activities;
  • a fitness room;
  • community offices including an office for the preparation and publication of the yearly community magazine which concentrates on keeping links with the community alive and strong all over the world;
  • a visitor information facility.
Swans at Mweenish
Swans at Mweenish

The Centre and the general concept of linking our people at home and abroad has a multi-focused approach:

  • honouring our emigrants;
  • linking the diaspora;
  • providing a living picture of the history of a rural, Irish speaking west of Ireland community;
  • providing community facilities;
  • …. and on a broader front it would provide a much needed social outlet and a springboard for tourism development.

Funding for such facilities is highly problematic in the present economic climate in Ireland. But we believe that every effort should be made to build this centre. While the economic picture in Ireland is difficult at the moment – and its effects are to be seen clearly in a peripheral rural community like ours – we are of the opinion that this is a time to make a statement on behalf of this area and this community.

We hope the Carna/Kilkerrin and Connemara diaspora – the daughters, sons and descendants – will join with us in this effort to link our community across the world.