The Ráth Cairn Gaeltacht is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and a weekend of celebrations is planned for this coming weekend.
The Meath Gaeltacht was founded in 1935 when 41 families from Connemara were settled on land acquired by the Irish Land Commission. Each family was provided with a Land Commission house and a farm of approximately 8.9 hectares (22 acres), a sow, piglets and basic implements.
A further 11 families joined the original settlers in 1935. In all, 443 people moved from Connemara to the Ráth Cairn area. In 1967, Ráth Cairn received official recognition as a Gaeltacht following a long campaign.
Ráth Cairn has since grown into a village with a Catholic church, sports facilities, co-operative and pub. Projects undertaken or assisted by the co-op include the construction of a community centre, a second-level school and others. Several facilities in Ráth Cairn host children and adults wishing to learn Irish, and residential Irish language courses are run for teenagers during the summer months.
Events begin this Friday, 9th April, with a drama festival, presenting 'Greim na Sainte' by Proinsias " Cuilinn, at 8pm.
The Dublin Cantóirí Dublin Choir, which recently took part in the choir competition on RTE, will sing the 'Ráth Cairn Song' at 8.30pm. Séamus Mac Gabhann will give a talk on the history of Ráth Cairn, and the evening will conclude with a live music session with Catherine Ní Shúilleabháin and Darach Mac Mathúna.
On Saturday, the museum of old artefacts and art gallery will be on view in the community hall from 1pm and, at 3pm, there will be a journey on foot around the village. Clann na nGael take on Leitir Móir - one of the areas in Connemara which the people travelled from in 1935 to Ráth Cairn and which the Meath village still has close ties with - in a football game at 5pm.
At 6.30pm, there will be a traditional music session with Na Galtees, and the results of an art competition for primary school pupils and results of essay competitions for post-primary school students will be announced.
Drama will continue with Aisteoirí Bulfin from Dublin with the Máirtín " Cadhain drama 'Círéib' at 8pm, followed by Aisteoirí Mhic Easmuinn from Carraroe with 'Jack Furé' by Brian McMahon, followed by music by Éamonn Mac Donncha and Micheál " Súilleabháin.
On Sunday at 6pm, a tree-planting ceremony will take place in the Garden of Remembrance, followed by an outdoor music session, pig roasting, and, at 7pm, a presentation of pottery specially designed by Colm de Rís to mark the occasion.
A presentation will be made to Ráth Cairn residents who made the journey from Connemara in 1935 by Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh and Micko " Méalóid. A bonfire will be lit to round off the weekend, followed by a pool competition.