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Irish Times Special Supplement
Céadaoin, 13 Eanáir 2016

Darragh Murphy

In 2016, a new visitor centre next to Pádraig Pearse's cottage in Connemara will provide an introduction to the Irish language and Gaeltacht culture.

The development of a cultural centre at "Teach an Phiarsaigh" in Ros Muc will provide an introduction to the Irish language, Gaeltacht culture and environment, focusing on 1916 leader Pádraig Pearse and his relationship with Co. Galway.

A writer and Irish language enthusiast long before he became a revolutionary, Pearse first came to Ros Muc in 1903 as a 23-year-old handpicked by Conradh an Gaeilge to act as an Irish examiner.

He developed a strong affinity with the area, buying land on Loch Eileabhrach in 1905, upon which he built a cottage in 1909. Unusually for a professional at the time, Pearse had it thatched in the style of poor country dwellings and on his regular visits between 1903 and 1915, spent time in the cabins of the poor, soaking up the folklore which found its way into his writings. Pearse had a rival for the affections of the locals in the shape of the Lord Liutenant, the Queen's representative in Ireland. Lord Dudley also spent summers in the area, where he organised hunts with gentry and children's fetes.

In response, Pearse organised an evening of Irish festivities for Ros Muc. Pearse gave scholarships to local Gaeilgeoir boys to his St Enda's School in Dublin.

Born in 1879, Pearse joined the IRB in September 1913, becoming Director of Military Organisation of the Irish Volunteers in 1914 and was later co-opted into the IRB's secretive Military Council, which infiltrated the Volunteers for the Rising.

Pearse's last visit to the cottage was in 1915, when he composed the rousing oration for the funeral of O'Donovan Rossa. The following April, Pearse went one step further, declaring a Republic on the steps of the GPO.

After Pearse's execution on May 3rd, 1916, his cottage passed to his mother Margaret. In 1921 it was burned down by the "Black and Tans" and Auxilaries.

Restored by Ó Conghaile and then again by Criostóir Mac Aonghusa, by 1943 Pearse's sisters Senator Margaret Pearse and Mary Brigid Pearse handed the cottage to the State.

In 2016, a new visitor centre next to Pearse's Cottage will provide an introduction to the Irish language, Gaeltacht culture and Pearse's connection to Ros Muc.

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