The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht announces funding, to undertake a feasibility study for a new Irish Language Cultural Centre in Galway City.

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Bord Stiúrtha Ghaillimh le Gaeilge welcome the announcement from Patrick O’Donovan TD Minister of State at the Department of the Gaeltacht that a grant of up to €39,459 will be provided to Gaillimh le Gaeilge to undertake a feasibility study for a new Irish Language Cultural Centre in Galway City.

Establishing an Irish Language Cultural Centre in the city is one of the main themes that emerged in the Galway City Irish Language Plan. (Measure 4:  Galway City Irish Language Plan)

The 7-year Plan is overseen by Gaillimh le Gaeilge (the organisation responsible for promoting Galway as a bilingual city), in partnership with Galway City Council. The Department of the Gaeltacht approved the plan in May 2020 with a grant of €100,000 annually for seven years to support its implementation.

Following the announcement, Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey said:

“Fáiltíonn muid go mór roimh an bhfógra seo agus tá muid buíoch d’Aire Stáit na Gaeltachta, Patrick Donovan TD as an tacaíocht seo a chur ar fáil dúinn.

Galway is Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht and is officially designated as a Gaeltacht Service Town and as a Bilingual City. As a result, one would expect the city’s linguistic wealth and Irish culture to be reflected in a central hub. The feasibility study, which will begin in early Autumn, will pave the way for phase two of this exciting new project for Ireland’s Bilingual city.”

As a result of a tendering process, Freya Watson, Director, Ali Curran, Director, and John Ruddle, Associate Director of CHL Consulting will oversee the project on behalf of Gaillimh le Gaeilge.

Speaking about the work ahead, project leader Freya Watson, says:

“We are looking forward to working with Gaillimh le Gaeilge and their key stakeholders in the coming months on this unique and exciting project, which has the potential to act as a beacon for encouraging greater use of, and engagement with, the Irish language. Irish language and culture is fite fuaite – interwoven – through the lives of Galway residents, whether through word, music, the arts or business. Our intention is that this new Centre will likewise be rooted in Galway, drawing on the wealth of the past while also reaching towards the future, and acting as a hub for both locals and visitors alike.”

The Board of Directors of Gaillimh le Gaeilge has established a working group to guide the process. Members include Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey, Bríd Ní Chonghóile, CEO, Gaillimh le Gaeilge as well as former board members Caitlin Nic an Ultaigh and Barry O’Sullivan.

CHL Consulting, established in 1984, is a specialist business consultancy service providing  a  wide range of  consulting and   project management  services to  the   tourism, cultural heritage  and  arts sectors.  They have extensive experience in product development planning, feasibility analyses and business planning throughout Ireland.

Freya has over thirty years’ experience in Irish tourism and business planning, particularly in the areas of strategic planning, research, heritage tourism, and market and comparator analysis.  Before joining CHL in 2013, she held a variety of management positions with Fáilte Ireland in the areas of Destination Development, Heritage Tourism, Innovation & Strategy, and Product Marketing.

Ali has over 25 years’ experience working in executive roles and as a  specialist  consultant  in  the culture and  tourism sectors. She has a particular strength in contemporary culture and has recently been appointed to the Board of IMMA in Dublin.  Her work with CHL has included a wide variety of projects from concept development, e.g. at a new visitor experience at Sliabh Liag, through to feasibility studies for the John Hume Foundation (which included assessing potential locations) and sectoral reviews on behalf of the Arts Council.

John has considerable experience in establishing, managing, and commercially delivering on similar cultural facilities, and operates his own consultancy firm, John Ruddle Consulting. He has over 25 years of experience managing large and  complex  visitor  attractions  in  Ireland  from  Bunratty Castle and  Folk Park, the  Cliffs of Moher,  Malahide Castle, and  Gardens to the  relatively new GPO Centre, and fully understands the  opportunities for  achieving financial sustainability for  an  offering like the  new Language  and  Cultural   Centre.