Glasson Lough Ree Heritage Group Committee. From left to right: Damien Ryan, Áine Ryan, Cllr Frankie Keena, James Connaughton, Lisa Connaughton and Dr Eoin Sullivan. Fellow committee members Oliver O’Neill and Johnny Coghill are absent from the picture.

New Glasson Heritage group is making waves around Lough Ree

An awareness of the untold story of the heritage of Lough Ree has led members of the community to establish the Glasson Lough Ree Heritage Group. Their determination was recently rewarded with a successful funding application to the Heritage Council under the Community Grants Scheme 2021.

Now a heritage audit is to take place this summer and the group is looking for the wider community to help in that work.

Glasson and the surrounding areas are rich in heritage sites that not only include the built heritage but also the heritage of the inner lakes and islands.

Local county councillor and committee Chairman Frankie Keena stated that he was absolutely delighted that the Heritage Council has approved €4,600 funding towards the heritage audit for this study area.

Cllr Keena said that the Glasson Lough Ree Heritage Group has a fantastic and enthusiastic committee who are delighted to have secured the professional services from Dr Eoin Sullivan of Gort Archaeology. The support from Westmeath County Council's Heritage Officer Melanie McQuade is also very much appreciated, Cllr Keena said.

“At this stage, the heritage group would like to invite the wider community including students from Tubberclare National school to assist us with our work. The completed Heritage Audit will be made available to the public and will be disseminated to local schools, Athlone Library, the Heritage Council, Failte Ireland, and all other interested groups,” Cllr Keena explained.

Glasson Lough Ree Heritage Group secretary Lisa Connaughton said she was delighted with the funding that the group received and “felt it gave recognition to the value of the heritage of the area”.

She added that the committee as a whole is looking forward to working with Dr Eoin Sullivan who will be preparing the heritage audit with the community over the summer months.

Dr Eoin Sullivan said that he is really excited to explore the local monuments from the land and water, more typically associated with coastal areas, but that’s the uniqueness of the lakes of Westmeath and Lough Ree which he said are a treat to research. He stated that he was very fortunate to work with community stalwarts like Johnny Coghill who has a vast wealth of knowledge on the area and is eager to share.

The Glasson Lough Ree Heritage group is fortunate to have, Lisa Connaughton’s husband, James, dealing with a crucial part of tge audit by keeping people informed of developments and potential discoveries via social media. While committee treasurer Damien Ryan is delighted that the study area encompasses the Ballykeernan and Glasson hinterlands as well as stretching west onto Lough Ree and the islands.

Lisa said she is keen to involve many local residents so that a deep and rich narrative of the area is established. The Glasson Lough Ree Heritage Group is enthusiastically looking forward to uncovering the rich heritage of the locality in particular committee member and co-treasurer Aine Ryan is chomping at the bit to explore the heritage of the area and set about creating an exciting and engaging piece to celebrate the heritage of Ballykeeran and Glasson environs for Heritage Week 2021.

To keep up to date with what’s happening follow the Glasson Lough Ree heritage group on social media @lough_Ree on Twitter and Instagram and on the Glasson Lough Ree Facebook page.

While the enchanting and tranquil Lough Ree is nestled in the Hidden Heartlands, Killinure Lough, Ballykeeran and Glasson’s rich heritage will soon be hidden no more.

It is hoped that these areas and their residents’ stories will resonate with much appreciated supports and encouragement from the Heritage Council.

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