New Irish Gaeltacht
Opens Outside Kingston
KINGSTON - The official opening of Gaeltacht Bhaile na hÉireann will be held on June 16. This will be the first permanent Gaeltacht site outside of Ireland. It will be launched with opening ceremonies and an Irish cultural display, followed by a tour of the site.
Cumann na Gaeltachta in Kingston, Ontario, recently bought the 60-acre parcel of land to establish their permanent Gaeltacht site. They paid $60,000 for the lush green site with river frontage.
Aralt MacGiolla Chainnigh, a leading member of the Cumann in Kingston explained the rationale behind the land. "We always had the intention of buying land. We wanted a place to call our own," he said.
He also stressed that they were not using the word Gaeltacht "frivolously," "We want a place where people can come all year round and speak Irish. At first, there will be no one living there on a full-time basis, however, that could all change in the future."
The land is half an hour's drive from Kingston and close to Lake Ontario.
Aralt is a teacher of physics and astronomy in the Royal Military College of Canada and his ancestors hail from Sligo and Derry.
He says they want to develop the site at "the rate of demand," and build 16 cabins and a cultural centre eventually. They hope to start construction within five years.
Meanwhile, the Cumann plan to run Irish language and cultural weekends on the property by using large marquees.
The Cumann based their ideas on the Oideas Gael concept in Glencolmcille in County Donegal, which has attracted hundreds to its language course and cultural programs.
For more information on the project, call (613) 541-6000 extension 6042, or e-mail: email@example.com.