Background to Centre

In the late 1980's Martin and Nora Walsh were farming 110 acres of elevated land in Lettershea, five miles from Clifden. The harsh landscape did not lend itself to intensive farming. The farm had a suckler herd, sheep and some Connemara ponies. Both had off farm employment and let two self catering cottages to generate extra income. Following trends of the time they decided to look to alternative ways of generating an income from the farm and have now created a successful business providing employment for others.

According to local history the ruins of a cottage on the farm was once the home of Dan O' Hara who was famous in song and story. Dan farmed eight acres until he was evicted and forced to emigrate and ended up selling matches in New York. The Walsh’s set about researching the possibility of restoring the cottage and tapping into the tourism market that already existed in Clifden. They consulted various agencies-

  • Teagasc
  • Ireland West Tourism
  • Bord Fáilte
  • Galway Enterprise Board,
  • Business Innovation Centre
  • Údaras na Gaeltachta

A feasibility study was undertaken, grants applied for, a business plan drawn up and a positive reaction from their bank manager set the wheels in motion. The project developed in two phases.

Phase 1

  • Restoration of Dan O' Hara's cottage and farm
  • Construction of a crannóg.
  • Construction of a tearoom and craft shop

Phase 2

  • A history room and audiovisual room
  • A carriage was constructed in order to transport visitors
  • Construction of a clochan and ring fort.
  • Excavation of archaeological site by Michael Gibbons (local archaeologist)
  • Expansion of craft shop

The centre has won various awards since it's foundation

  • 1992 Farm Development Award
  • 1994 & 1998 Small Business section of Agri-Tourism Awards
  • 1998 Fonduireacht an Udarais 2nd Prize Small Business Category
 
 
Connemara Heritage Centre, Lettershea, Clifden, Connemara. Tel: +353 95 21808 Fax: +353 95 22098 Email: danohara@eircom.net