Cultural integrity of Cork Gaeltacht is under threat

Submissions close next Friday on a plan which warns of the erosion of the cultural integrity of a Cork Gaeltacht area of “international heritage significance”.

The Múscraí Heritage Plan 2018-2032, commissioned by Cork County Council and Gaeltacht ‘hedge university’ Acadamh Fódhla with Heritage Council support, recommends recognition and supports for the Múscraí Gaeltacht, located west of Macroom.

Final comments and submissions on an Irish language version of the plan are being sought before February 15 and the document, also available in English, is set to be launched in the near future.

The plan’s authors warn if measures are not taken to protect Múscraí’s heritage, the area will lose its cultural vibrancy and become “a place of no great importance or vitality”.

Such is the area’s significance, they argue, that it “demands recognition and requires insightful supports to be put in place. If these are not done, then the core heritage distinctiveness of the place and its cultural value to the State and Europe will slowly diminish to a point where Múscraí becomes a place of no great importance or vitality.

“Gradual rural depopulation and reactions to cultural pressures caused by macro socio-economic trends, policy decisions, and individual choices are eroding the cultural integrity of Múscraí,” the authors state.

The conservation, management and interpretation plan was undertaken by heritage and archaeology company, Research and Dig, and involved extensive community consultation. Its main aim was to highlight the importance and heritage significance of Gaeltacht Mhúscraí and devise heritage policies and actions to ensure that the area is appropriately conserved, managed, and maintained into the future.

The plan aims to provide the basis for future decisions concerning the management of Múscraí’s heritage and be taken into account by the county council and other relevant agencies. It identifies specific threats to Múscraí’s heritage significance, including mass tourism, the building of large new housing estates, withdrawal of services, the N22 upgrade, and a falling population.

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