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13 Dec 2012

Bhuail an tAire Stáit don Ghaeltacht, Donnachadh Mac Fhionnlaoich TD agus an tAire Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, bhuail siad beirt le grúpa fiontraithe cultúrtha in Óstán an Charlemont in Ard Mhacha ar na mallaibh. Bhí an dá Aire in Ard Mhacha ag cruinniú de chuid na Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas ach thapaigh siad an deis foghlaim faoi na forbairtí is deireanaí i dtaca leis an phlean uaillmhianach cur le turasóireacht chultúrtha Ard Mhacha.

Tá ard-iomrá ar Ard Mhacha mar ionad cultúrtha ón ré réamhChríostaí, ach thiocfadh dó go mbeidh caibidil úr á scríobh i stair na cathrach mar ionad trasteorainn mór le rá do dhíograiseioirí chultúr agus thraidisiúin na nGael. Tá roinnt eagraíochtaí Gaeilge agus cultúir in Ard Mhacha i ndiaidh teacht le chéile le fiontraíocht chultúrtha úr a chruthú mar atá Aonach Mhacha, agus cuspóir acu ionad Gaeilge agus ealaíon traidisiúnta a oscailt do mhuintir na cathrach agus na contae ar fad. Tá stiúrthóirí na comhlachta úire ag tabhairt faoi staidéar infhéidearthachta faoi láthair ar roinnt suíomhanna sa chathair inar féidir an fhiontar nua £1.5 milliún a lonnú. Beidh suas le dáréag fostaithe in Aonach Mhacha nuair a bheas sé tógtha.

Glacadh ainm an lárionad nua Gaeilge – Aonach Mhacha – ó cheann de na mór-aonaigh Ghaelacha a tharla i luathstair na hÉireann. Ba mhór agus ba thábhachtach na tionóil iad agus is ann a socraíodh gnó an cheantair, na cúige agus ar ndóigh na tíre maidir le cúrsaí dleathacha, cúrsaí sóisialta, cúrsaí tráchtála agus cúrsaí polaitiúla. Ba in Ard Mhacha a tharla an tAonach do chúige Uladh agus mhaireadh na haonaigh trí seachtaine agus bheadh siad ar siúl trí huaire i rith na bliana. Deir lucht scoláireachta agus lucht taighde gur dócha gur ar an Fhaiche in Ard Mhacha a tharla an t-aonach ársa tábhachtach seo.

Bhí an dá Aire iontach tógtha faoin dul chun cinn maidir leis an phleanáil don tionscadal nua agus gheall siad a gcuidiú agus a dtacaíocht don ionad.

Agus é ag cur fáilte roimh na hAirí go hArd Mhacha, dúirt Cathaoirleach Aonach Mhacha, Réamonn Ó Ciaráin:
“Tá fuinneamh agus díograis ag baint leis an tionscadal Aonach Mhacha, rud a chinnteoidh go bhfíorófar é agus tá lúcháir orainn deis a fháil bualadh leis an dá Aire lena gcur ar an eolas faoi na pleananna atá againn le baile a thógáil don Ghaeilge agus do chultúr na Gaeilge i gcathair ársa Ard Mhacha”.

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Donnachadh Mac Fhionnlaoich TD and Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA met this week with a group of cultural entrepreneurs in the Charlemont Arms Hotel, Armagh. Both Ministers were in Armagh for a North South Ministerial Council meeting but they also availed of the opportunity to hear about the latest developments in an ambitious plan to add to Armagh City’s stock of cultural tourism attractions. 

Renowned since pre-Christian times as a site of major cultural significance, Armagh City could soon be about to open another chapter in its history as a landmark, cross-border attraction for enthusiasts of Gaelic culture and traditions. Several Irish language and cultural organisations based in the city have joined forces to create a new social enterprise named Aonach Mhacha, with the express purpose of building a modern Irish language and traditional arts centre for the people of Armagh City and District. Directors of the new company are currently conducting feasibility studies on a number of city centre locations in which to house the exciting, new £1.5 million venture which will employ up to twelve people upon its completion.

The name for the new Irish language cultural hub – Aonach Mhacha – is taken from one of the great Gaelic tribal assemblies or ‘Aonachs’ which had their origins in the pre-history of Ireland. These were truly magnificent gatherings at which the business of the whole district, province or country – legal, social, commercial and political – was conducted. The Aonach for the province of Ulster was held in Armagh and could last up to three weeks and was held as many as three times a year. Scholars and researchers have identified The Mall in Armagh City as the possible location of this important, ancient assembly. 

The two Ministers were impressed with the advanced state of planning for the new project and promised promised that they would support the proposed development in every practical way they could.

Welcoming the Ministers to Armagh, Aonach Mhacha Chairman, Réamonn Ó Ciaráin said:
“There is a momentum and enthusiasm behind the Aonach Mhacha project which will carry it through to fruition and it is wonderful to welcome both Ministers to hear about our exciting plans to build a new home for the Irish language and our cultural heritage in the ancient city of Armagh”.