From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
Western People - 3 Dec 2003
7, Dec 2003 - 01:03

Three from the Western People:

Belderrig currach on a crest of a wave
Mrs. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, presented the Museum of Country Life (National Museum of Ireland) with an award for its lively and dynamic Education and Outreach programme. The Museum of the Year awards were presented during a reception at the House of Lords, Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin. Deirdre Power, Education and Outreach Officer at the Museum of Country Life, accepted the award for Best Access & Outreach Initiative for an exciting and innovative boat building project undertaken last summer. The building of this Belderrig currach, a large 5 man currach, was not only novel in an Irish museum context but emphasised the vitality of existing skills and crafts in the country and the benefits of partnerships between museum and local and community organisations.

High hopes for upgrading McHale Park 'eyesore'
By Majella Loftus
Officials of Castlebar Mitchels GAA Club and Mayo County Council are confident an agreement can be reached in relation to the renovation of an unsightly derelict wall at McHale Park. Four officials of the club attended a meeting of the Castlebar Electoral Area Committee last week and heard plans for the upgrading of McHale Road to the value of €350,000. These figures however, did not include the renovation of the wall. The meeting was attended by Michael Diskin, chairman of the GAA club, Mr Martin McManamon, Mr Leo Doherty and Mr James Rock.

Ballycroy’s €4m visitor centre will boost tourism
Tourism in Mayo has been given a massive boost with the announcement that almost £4m. has been allocated for the building of a Visitor Centre at the 11,800 hectare national park in Ballycroy. The establishment of the new centre at the National Park will contribute to a network of heritage sites in Mayo that includes the exceptionally popular Museum of Country Life in Turlough Park House and the Ceide Fields. The Centre will be build into a hill overlooking Blacksod Bay, with the Park to its rear, and it will include exhibition space, a cafeteria, classrooms for educational activities and a platform from the roof area to view the National Park.

The currach project was well covered by PJ here on the Castlebar website last year – the photographs are still there. This year’s house-building project should also be in the running next year as it was another innovative idea – what will they do for Summer 2004?

Football pitches are never items of beauty especially when viewed from the outside. Hopefully now with the day approaching that Croke Park will be rented out to the Government and sub-let to all sorts of foreign games and music events they will be able to prettify the ugly wall on McHale Road. The Mitchels did offer McHale Park for a U2 concert a while back so you just never know - they could be rolling in it before long with plenty to fix the wall. In the meantime perhaps a few starving artists could paint a 'muriel' on it like so many other GAA pitches around the West.

Another visitor centre but this time in our latest National Park in the Nephin Beg range. Hopefully it won’t get mired down in controversy like the Burren centre did due to a poor choice of location. The lessons learned in Clare will hopefully give Mayo a centre as cleverly located and integrated into the landscape as the one perched on top of the cliff at the Ceide Fields.

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