The Connemara retreat used by the leader of the 1916 Rising is to be developed as a national monument and tourism attraction following the allocation of €2 million by the Government for the project over the next three years.
It is expected that Patrick Pearse’s Cottage in Rosmuc will bring over 60,000 visitors to the area each year and will result in a €4 million annual boost to the local economy.
Plans have been devised by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to construct a cultural centre and walking trail on the site of the cottage in advance of the 1916 centenary commemoration.
The announcement has been welcomed by Fine Gael Deputy Sean Kyne, Chairman of the Fine Gael Committee on Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who said half a million euro will be provided in 2014, one million euro in 2015 and half a million in 2016 in preparation for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
“The funding will help establish an interpretive centre that will showcase the link between Padraig Pearse and Connemara as well as serving a heritage tourism focal point for the West. It will also emphasise the centrality of the Irish language to Pearse who created many literary works in Irish during his time in the Connemara Gaeltacht.
“I’m hopeful the confirmation of the funding will enable plans to progress well in advance of the centenary of what is arguably the most important event in modern Irish history,” said Deputy Kyne.
The move was also welcomed by former Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh, who explained Pearse’s Cottage was the summer residence of Patrick Pearse, who spent a lot of time in Rosmuc between 1903 and 1915, and also used the cottage as a summer school for his pupils from St Enda’s in Dublin.
“It is an important part of our heritage situated in a spectacular part of Connemara and, as it stands, up to 12,000 people visit the place each year. There is massive potential for the development of the site as a major tourism attraction.”
It is proposed to develop a cultural centre on the site, which would provide exhibition space, education rooms, an AV room, a café and a library or archive.
The interior of the two-bedroomed cottage was destroyed by fire during the War of Independence but has since been restored and a 15-minute guided tour of the building is currently provided at the site by the OPW.
Deputy Walsh said that the centenary of the 1916 Rising presented an opportunity for the advancement of the project, and it is fitting that Pearse’s association with Connemara will be commemorated in this way.