Lorcán Ó Cinnéide joins the OPW as Manager of Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir

12 October 18

The Office of Public Works is delighted to announce the appointment of Lorcán Ó Cinnéide as the new Manager of Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir. Mr. Ó Cinnéide who hails from the West Kerry Gaeltacht brings a wealth of experience to his new position as Manager of the Blasket Centre. He has held high profile leadership positions in both the public and private sectors including in the seafood industry, as a board member of the Marine Institute and is a former chairman of Comhairle Raidió na Gaeltachta. A graduate of Trinity College, Mr. Ó Cinnéide has been centrally involved in the Blasket Island Foundation since its inception in 1986.

The appointment of Mr. Ó Cinnéide comes at an exciting juncture in the development of the both the Blaskets Centre and the Great Blasket Islands as public interest in the rich heritage of the Blaskets continues to grow. Despite the daily challenges of the environment of the Great Blasket, the once thriving Island community produced many works of literature in Irish which are regarded as classics. Tomás Ó Criomhthain wrote the first and probably most important of these, An tOileánach (The Islandman) and was notably followed by Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty-Years-a-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin and Peig, an autobiography by Peig Sayers.

The Office of Public Works has recently completed work on the restoration of the original house of writer Tomás Ó Criomhthain. The vision for the restored house is to provide an authentic visitor experience and bring to life the harsh living conditions endured by the local community before the island was finally abandoned by the 22 remaining inhabitants in 1953. The house which was in a roofless, derelict condition has been restored in a traditional manner to a high standard.  As part of the restoration project another house in the historic village was also restored and will act as a reception point for visitors and focus for OPW’s guide staff during the tourist season which runs from April until September and receives up to 10,000 visitors a year.

The Blasket Islands are designated a ‘Signature Point’ under Fáilte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way Programme and further visitor improvements are planned at the Visitor Centre in Dún Chaoin on the mainland with funding from Fáilte Ireland. Tourism makes a vital contribution to the socio-economic fabric of this remote area on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula and this investment in a unique visitor attraction and experience is aimed at sustaining and growing tourism in west Kerry.

Commenting on the appointment of Mr. Ó Cinnéide  Rosemary Collier, Director of National Historic Properties with the OPW said ‘We are  delighted to have a colleague of Lorcán’s calibre join our team working to protect, conserve and promote some of Ireland’s most important heritage properties. Lorcán has a deep personal connection with the Blaskets and Dún Chaoin as well as a wealth of experiences and expertise. We look forward to working with him in the years ahead to develop the Centre, the Island and to build greater public awareness of the unique and rich literary heritage of the Blaskets.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact OPW Client Services and Communications at opwcsc@opw.ie

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