In the midst of lockdown in 2021, a project was embarked upon by the History Group through iCAN (Irish Community Archive Network) the goal of which was to connect people and places from near and far during these trying times.
Irish Community Archive Network has a network of groups around the country and they are all linked by the Our Heritage website. A call went out to all of these local groups to get involved in a project bringing people and places together. 18 other commmunity groups from counties Clare, Galway, Mayo and Wicklow took part in the project.
The Donard Imaal History Group joined the project and the work began.
The aim of the project was to design a postcard relating to the local area with a piece of prose or poetry to compliment the visual. It was decided to call upon local residents with a knowledge of creative writing and photography to get involved.
We called upon Donard poet Pauline Flynn and Ballinclea photography enthusiast Caroline O’Brien. They came on board and worked together to develop the idea. ICAN provided us with a series of workshops on photography and creative writing. All the groups involved took the opportunity to be a part of this process.
The result of which was the beautiful photography of Ballyhubbock Bridge showing Keadeen mountain in the background and the river Slaney in the foreground with a Haiku poem by Pauline Flynn. Daoine being the people who built the bridge and the community who used it for travel and Ait is the connection of people with the surrounding area. The Haiku poem makes the waters flow and brings us into the hills.
Each group involved received an amount of postcards to be available for free throughout the community and we distributed them through the local libraries and shops. This was followed up with a campaign through our local primary schools of Donard and Donoughmore, where the children engaged in a class project of writing and sending the cards to people maybe far away or close to their hearts.
The postcards have reached all around the world, being sent to Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, Argentina, Sweden, Africa, the Phillipines and America to mention just some of the postal destinations. Click on this link to see the map:
With thanks to our project management team: Lorna Elms, National Museum of Ireland, Marie Mannion, County Galway Heritage Officer, Deirdre Burns, County Wicklow Heritage Officer & Congella McGuire, County Clare Heritage Officer.
Daoine agus Áit: Connecting our Communities is an iCAN project co-funded by the National Museum of Ireland and the Heritage Officers for counties Clare, Galway and Wicklow, with grants from the Healthy Ireland Keep Well Campaign & Creative Ireland.