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03 Dec 2013

DA Presentation 1Baineadh amach cloch mhíle thábhachtach eile le cultúrlann nua a bhunú i gcathair Ard Mhacha. Tá an sochfhiontar nua Aonach Mhacha i ndiaidh Ailtirí DA agus Suirbhéireacht Mhic Ghabhann a choimisiúnú le pleananna uaillmhianacha a dhearadh don ionad nua Gaeilge, ealaíne, cultúir agus oidhreachta a chosnóidh £1.5 milliún. Nochtadh na pleananna nua an tseachtain seo caite os comhair scaifte de cheannairí gnó, d’ionadaithe polaitiúla, de ghníomhaithe cultúir agus de dhaltaí ón tSruth Ghaeilge i gColáiste Chaitríona.

Is dócha go mbeidh an t-ionad úrnua cultúir lonnaithe i bhfoirgneamh mórthaibhseach ag suíomh an tseanstáisiúin dhóiteáin sa Seamlas in iarthar na cathrach. Cuirfear na pleananna faoi bhráid na Seirbhíse Pleanála ar ball beag agus tá stiúrthóirí an chomhlachta nua ag súil leis go gcuirfear tús leis an obair go mall san Earrach nó go luath sa samhradh in 2014.

Forbrófar an áis uaillmhianach Gaeilge thar dhá chéim. Táthar ag súil leis go mbeidh Céim a hAon den tionscadal réidh go luath in 2015 agus is éard a bheas i gceist leis ná atógáil trí urlár a dhéanfas saothar suntasach ailtireachta ag suíomh lárnach sa chathair as suíomh tréigthe atá ina gráin súl faoi láthair.  Beidh meascán deas d’ábhair thraidisiúnta tógála Ard Mhacha agus míreanna ceannródaíochta nua-aimseartha.

Thug Áinín Ní Eachaidh, stiúrthóir le hAonach Mhacha, thug sí cuntas ar mhórscála an tionscadail:

“Sochfhiontar comhoibrítheach atá in Aonach Mhacha a thógfas agus a dhéanfas bainistiú ar ionad cultúir i gcroílár stairiúil Ard Mhacha. Beidh an chultúrlann ina hábhar muiníne ag na daoine sin a bhfuil spéis acu sa Ghaeilge agus in oidhreacht chultúrtha na nGael. Tá muid ag iarraidh lárionad beoga a chruthú do phobal na Gaeilge sa chathair agus sa chontae. Cuirfidh an t-ionad fáilte mhór roimh achan duine, idir na daoine sin atá ag iarraidh an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim den chéad uair agus cainteoirí líofa. Cuirfidh Aonach Mhacha deiseanna sóisialta ar fáil, i dteannta le foghlaim structúrtha agus déanfaidh sé ceiliúrafh ar an teanga agus ar an chultúr. Chomh maith le café, spas comhdhála agus seomraí ranga, beidh seomra meáin agus spas oifige ar fáil d’fhiontar Ghaeilge agus chultúir atá seanbhunaithe agus nuabhunaithe araon. Déanfar gach brábús a dhéanfaidh Aonach Mhacha a athinfheistiú san fhoirgneamh agus i dtionscadail chultúir, shóisialta, ealaíne, oideachais agus shiamsaíochta in Ard Mhacha.

DA Presentation 2Tá sé ar intinn againn spás a chruthú do cheolchoirmeacha agus taispeántais fosta, chomh maith le haonaid chothaithe sochfhiontar a thabharfas deis don chéad ghlúin eile d’fhiontraithe cultúir smaointí gnó agus seirbhíse a fhorbairt i dtimpeallacht thacúil, chomhoibríoch. Soláthróidh Aonach mhacha sraith tionscadal teanga agus pobail taobh leis na gníomhaíochtaí agus tograí a chuirfeas na príomhthionóntaí ar fáil.  Áireofar orthu seo ranganna teanga, oiliúint san fhiontraíocht shóisialta, turasóireacht chultúrtha, taispeántais ealaíne agus oidhreachta chultúrtha, coirmeacha ceoil agus rince, ceardlanna, seimineáir agus tionscnaimh fhorbartha pobail”.

Cothóidh Aonach Mhacha 12 post in earnáil na Gaeilge agus an chultúir in Ard Mhacha agus cruthóidh sé 6 post breise nuair a bheas sé críochnaithe. Tá cúnamh airgeadais don tionscadal deimhnithe ó Chiste Infheistíochta Gaeilge, ón Roinn Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta, ó Ghael Linn, ó Iontaobhas Ultach, ó Invest NI agus ó UCIT.

Another significant milestone has been reached on the road to establishing the first ever ‘Cultúrlann’ – Irish language centre – in Armagh City. Directors of a new, collaborative, social enterprise known as ‘Aonach Mhacha’ – the assembly of Macha – have commissioned DA Architects and Smyth Surveying to draw up ambitious design plans for the proposed £1.5million language, arts and cultural heritage centre. The latest design plans were unveiled last week before an invited audience of business leaders, political representatives, cultural activists and students from Coláiste Chaitríona, Armagh’s only Irish medium secondary school.

DA Presentation 3It is likely that the modern cultural services hub will reside in a striking new building on the site of the former fire station in the Shambles area of west Armagh city. Plans will shortly be submitted to the Planning Service for consideration and Directors of the new company hope to see work commenced on the new project in late Spring or early Summer 2014.

Development of the ambitious, new Irish language facility will be carried out in two phases. Phase One is expected to be completed early in 2015 and will incorporate a three story reconstruction that will potentially transform a derelict eyesore at a gateway site to the city into a landmark piece of architecture that will combine sympathetic, vernacular and traditional Armagh building materials with more contemporary, cutting edge design elements.

Aonach Mhacha Director, Áinín Ní Eachaidh, outlined the scale of the project:
“Aonach Mhacha is a collaborative social enterprise which will build and manage a cultural centre in the historic heart of Armagh City.  The new cultúrlann will act as a beacon for those with an interest in the Irish language and Irish cultural heritage. What we are aiming to achieve is a lively, industrious focal point of activity for the Irish language community and their supporters. The centre will welcome those who are seeking to engage with Irish for the first time as well as with learners and more fluent speakers. Aonach Mhacha will provide opportunities for social interaction as well as structured learning and engagement with the language and the broader culture. Café, conference and classroom space will be supplemented with a media suite and office space for well-established and new Irish language and cultural enterprises. All profits generated by the trading activities of the Aonach Mhacha social enterprise will be reinvested in the Aonach Mhacha building and in cultural, social, arts, educational and recreational projects in the Armagh area.

DA Presentation 4In addition, we hope to create space for performances and exhibitions as well as for social enterprise incubation units that will offer the opportunity for the next generation of cultural entrepreneurs to develop business and service ideas in a supportive, cooperative and solidaristic environment. Aonach Mhacha will develop and deliver a series of language and community projects which will be additional to the activities carried out by the anchor tenants.  These will include language classes, social enterprise training, cultural tourism, art & cultural heritage exhibitions, musical and dance performances, workshops, seminars and community development initiatives”.

The Aonach Mhacha complex will sustain 12 jobs in the Irish language and cultural sector in Armagh and it will help to generate a further 6 jobs when completed. Funding assistance for the project has so far been confirmed from Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge (Irish Language Investment Fund), Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Gael Linn, Ultach Trust, Invest NI and UCIT.