Caomhnú Árann, an EIP-AGRI project on the Aran Islands were delighted to host a visit from another EIP-AGRI group from northwest Donegal, Cúlra Créafóige. Cúlra Créafóige is rehabilitating disused lands, improving biodiversity through regenerative agriculture and encouraging cottage industry by revitalizing local cultivation activities. Small scale tillage is still a feature on Inis Meáin, with crops of potatoes, rye, cabbage, turnips, leeks and onions grown throughout the island every year mainly for domestic use but also for local restaurants and cafes. Therefore the island was a natural choice of location for Cúlra Créafóige to visit and share information.

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The Donegal group had a chance to visit the thatched cottage ‘Teach Synge’, in which the playwright John Synge stayed during his time on Inis Meáin and had an opportunity to hear from Ciarán Ó Fatharta about rye growing on the island and how it was used to maintain the thatch on the cottage. Later Seán Ó Domhnaill showed the group the crops grown on his farm, explaining the traditional techniques in both growing and storing the crop.

Whilst Caomhnú Árann host a range of visits each year this was the first time a farming group from another Gaeltacht area have visited, allowing both participating groups to communicate in Irish, which is an added bonus of the EIP-AGRI structure with the range of small community based groups throughout Ireland in Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas.

The following day Gráinne Ní Chonghaile from the Caomhnú Árann project team along with Shane Conway of the NRN, on behalf of DAFM, launched the publication of the Irish language version of a booklet on Ireland’s 23 EIP-AGRI projects at the Burren Winterage festival, EIP-AGRI: Grúpaí Oibríochtúla na hÉireann 2019, a booklet which has been produced by the NRN team at NUIG. Gráinne spoke about how Irish was of course the first language of participants in the Caomhnú Árann project and that in general the participant farmers have a preference for doing their business through Irish where possible. She highlighted how it was important that this has been recognised by DAFM and the NRN, in publishing the EIP-AGRI projects booklet through Irish and was delighted that this would be a useful resource for dissemination purposes within the local community, local schools and the wider public.

Tá sé ríthábhacht go dtig le bunadh na Gaeltachta de bheith ag plé lena gcéile ina dteanga dúchais féin – tá deiseanna chomhmhalártú foghlamtha agus leathnú tuisceanna riachtánach le cur i bhfeidhm na gcláracha nuálaithe seo – ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile.’

More information about the Cúlra Créafóige EIP-AGRI Project and the Caomhnú Árann EIP-AGRI Project can be found here:

Cúlra Créafóige EIP-AGRI Project: https://www.nationalruralnetwork.ie/eip-agri-case-studies/culra-creafoige-cultivation-renewal-programme/

Caomhnú Árann EIP-AGRI Project: https://www.nationalruralnetwork.ie/eip-agri-case-studies/caomhnu-arann-managing-the-habitats-of-the-aran-islands-to-maximise-their-agricultural-and-ecological-output/

An interactive NRN Storyboard database of these two EIP-AGRI Operational Groups, all well as the 21 other project funded under the RDP 2014-2020 can be found here:
https://uploads.knightlab.com/storymapjs/cbaeda2af2bbfca269148e3cab1d01f3/eip-agri-operational-groups-ireland-mf/index.html

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