We were surprised and delighted when in 2006 Mr Bryan Kearney came into our building, and told us he wanted to bequeath us some of his land in Carnaross. He had no decendents of his own and didn’t want the state to get it. He told us he had fond memories of Travellers working on his farmland. He had seen the kind of work we do and he wanted the land to be used for the benefit of Travellers.
A long drawn out legal process followed, but once the land was finally signed over we could begin to make a plan to develop the land. Some of it was leased to other farmers in the area which bought in a small income, which helped cover the legal costs and the upkeep of the land.
Navan Travellers Workshops Ltd had an initial idea of working on for the future development of a National Traveller Heritage Park, to be based in Carnaross Co. Meath. The already existing Traveller Living History Project would become part of the anticipated National Travellers Interactive Heritage Park.
The park would provide an opportunity to educate Travellers in the traditional skills of their culture and to avoid the loss of these skills in the future. This will result in Travellers and the wider community gaining an insight into Traveller culture by being able to view the processes, the production and finished products. This will in turn show the importance and value of Traveller heritage & culture and install a positive frame of mind for Travellers around their own heritage and culture.
A further outcome, we anticipate, will be the creation of employment opportunities for Travellers in the development of this National Heritage Park and other enterprises.
We managed to secure funding to carry out a feasibility study and this took place. Further funding applications have been made to develop the land and farm buildings.
The house has been re-furbished with Lottery funding, so the Kitchen and Bathroom are able to be used by participants working out on the Farm and has enabled a Horse Care Project to take place, which was very informative and enjoyable for the men.
The Dept of Agriculture have supported the Horse Grazing on the land, by funding fencing to keep the horses safe and to enable the moving around of the horses to different fields to allow grass to regrow.
We are delighted that Tusla, Irish Prison Service and the Probation service support our idea to further develop the land as a recreational educational and social enterprise base for predominantly Traveller men to attend and gain skills confidence and well-being.