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Mr Hastings at the old Hastings Cottage taken in the late sixties on the Sli na Mara Boreen at Shannon. Photograph courtesy of John O Brien, Drumline.

Local groups mark heritage week both online and offline

THE weather was wet and miserable last Saturday afternoon, but it didn’t stop more than 40 people turning out for a Heritage Week event at Hasting’s Cottage in Shannon.
One of the most historic sites in the country’s newest town, Hastings Cottage is where the British Army’s General Lucas was held for part of his time in captivity, during the War of Independence.
A group of musicians from the Sixmilebridge Folk Club provided music on the day, it being their first live performance in almost 18 months.
Following this there were some short talks on the history of the site and its inhabitants.
Hastings Cottage has been in the care of heritage group Dúchas na Sionna for the last ten years and its secretary Olive Carey outlined the progress that is being made in preparation for the complete restoration of the farmhouse barn, as a community, cultural and heritage facility.
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council PJ Ryan spoke at the event and explained some of the process: “Sites of heritage value like this one are worth preserving and it is important that they are conserved properly. So, with the co-operation of Clare County Council and the Heritage Council, Dúchas na Sionna are pushing ahead with the job.
“A conservation plan is currently underway, to determine the best methods to use, and to ensure that the buildings are restored in a proper manner.
“Simultaneously, a feasibility study is under way, to examine how the newly restored buildings can be used, for the good of the community.
“So these are two necessary aspects of the project which have just started and will be concluded within three months, and which we are officially launching today.”
Councillor Ryan also said with the involvement and cooperation of the County Council and the Heritage Council, he is confident this project will come to fruition.
The feasibility study on the future uses of the site is being carried out by Katherine Webster of Kittiwake Solutions, and she was in attendance as part of the public consultation process. Further online public consultation workshops will be organised during the next three weeks and anyone wishing to contribute to this should get in touch with either the Kittiwake Solutions or duchasnasionna@gmail.com.
Meanwhile another local heritage group has marked the week with four digital projects.
Clarecastle & Ballyea Heritage & Wildlife Group have made the projects available online on their website.
Two postcard projects, together with an illustrated Parish Timeline and a ‘Who’s been Living in my House’ are the local group’s four projects for the national heritage event which is running all this week.
The heritage and wildlife group have contributed to the iCan 2021 Heritage Postcard Project under the theme of ‘Daoine agus Áit: Connecting Our Communities’.
“The objective of the project is to draw on a shared history and heritage to connect people with their place, with their communities and with the diaspora. The postcard will be distributed in the community,” said Eric Shaw of the group.
The other postcard project has come together with the help of some local children.
Linked to the Daoine agus Áit project, fourth, fifth and sixth classes in Ballyea and Clarecastle schools took part in a postcard design competition earlier in the summer with judges Niamh Hickey and Hilary Gilmore.
“We had hoped to put the winning entries on display during Heritage Week but that was not possible. So we have placed the artwork on our website for all to view. Our thanks to the judges,” said Eric. All of these projects can be accessed at www.clarecastleballyea.clareheritage.org/

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