Development of Irish cultural centre in Tallaght to include bilingual café

By Mary Dennehy

WORK on a bilingual café and bookshop in Tallaght village is soon to commence, after a €150,000 grant was awarded to Gaelphobal Thamhlachta for the development of an Irish, cultural hub on Main Street.

In early 2016, the revived Gaelphobal Thamhlachta purchased a building in Tallaght Village with the vision of developing an Ionad Gaeilge and Culturtha [an Irish language and cultural centre].

Pol OMeadhra hes in the middle 02032017

A planning application lodged with South Dublin County Council, which was passed last June, sought the demolition of a 15 sq m single-storey area at the rear of the existing building and the construction of a new single-storey extension on the same footprint.

The application also sought the change of use of the building from a commercial office and garage to a cultural centre, Caife Gaelach, and bookshop – with plans including a small 60-seater theatre at the back of the premises.

Alongside support from South Dublin County Council, which gave €50,000 to the project, the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht recently granted Gaelphobal Thamhlachta €150,000 – which will cover phase one of the development, the café and bookshop.

The mini-theatre to the back of the development is phase two and will require an additional €80,000 to complete.

Speaking with The Echo, Pól Ó  Meádhra, a teacher in Scoil Santain and member of Gaelphobal Thamhlachta, said: “We’re hoping to have a construction company on board within the next month and have the bi-lingual café and bookshop open to the public within six months.

“We will also be looking to get a company in to run the coffee shop, which will employ people who speak Irish.

“The beauty of the café is that it’s bilingual and inclusive, and anybody, whether they are fluent in Irish, have a cúpla focail or no Irish at all, is welcome.

“It’s also going to be a great asset to the village itself.”

He added: “The whole thinking behind the centre is to promote and establish Irish as an integral part of day-to-day life in Tallaght and to change the culture and mindset around Irish, showing people that the language doesn’t have to stop at the school gates.

“We are hoping that the cultural centre will be a focal point for the language in the area and help to broaden the base and grow the movement . . . by encouraging everybody to be part of it.”

The small theatre planned in phase two will be used for gathering and events and will also be home to a new Irish language drama group called Aisteoirí Thamhlachta.

The drama group will stage its first play on March 13 in Rua Red, as part of an evening of entertainment organised by Feachtas Thamhlachta, the local Irish language youth group which will also recite songs and poems on the night.

Local historian Tomás Ó Meachair will also deliver a talk before the play on the Fenian Movement and the Rising in Tallaght.

Tomás Ó Meachair is also leading a bilingual history walk through Tallaght village this Sunday, March 5, which, encompassing the history of the Fenian Rising, will meet outside Gaelphobal Thamhlachta’s premises, 518 Main Street, at 11am. 

For further information on the centre, which will be run by volunteers, visit the Gaelphobal Thamhlachta Facebook page or www.gaelphobal thamhlachta.com

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