Posted by Frank Kearney in News.

There was a large turnout at the opening of the Claregalway Museum located at the Smyth Forge complex at Loughgeorge. Speaking at the opening Tom Lenihan said this project would not have happened without the co-operation of the Smyth family. He paid tribute to the hardworking committee who undertook the challenge of developing this project, outlined the history of the project and spoke of the work of Michael Skerritt, a carpenter in Claregalway.


Tom Lenihan speaking at the opening of the Museum.

He paid tribute to Willie Laffey, who had worked alongside Michael over many years and inherited all the tools after his death, which Willie has now donated to the museum. He also, on behalf of the committee, thanked the people of the community for their wonderful heritage and cultural projects. Tribute was also paid to the musicians who performed at the opening ceremony.


Lackagh Comhaltas kept the crowds in good form with fantastic music.

Mr Noel Grealish TD said that this hard working committee had a dream that they had made a reality and thanked all involved in bringing the project to fruition. Noel said that this project would rekindle memories for many of the older people but for the younger generations and the children of the area that this development would provide a huge learning experience for generations of young children who have never experienced the hard work and manual labour that people endured in past years by the people who have built up communities in previous years.


The Smyth family pictured cutting the ribbon with members of Claregalway Historical & Cultural Society.

Cllr Frank Kearney congratulated the Museum committee and the community that had brought this project to fruition. He spoke of the value of the blacksmith and the carpenter to communities and how they also became the focal communication point of news and stories in days long before Twitter and Facebook. He added his thanks to the Smyth family, without whom the project could not proceed and added that it was great to see so many of the Smyth family present. Michael Smyth who had travelled home from Vietnam for the opening of the Claregalway Museum said that his family were delighted to be able to assist with the project who has kept alive the family traditions. He paid tribute to the hardworking committee for their efforts and said that the community would benefit greatly as a result of the project.


The Claregalway Museum Committee, (Back L–R) Michael Hession, Seoirse Morris, Gerry Glynn, Malachy Qualter, Jack Hession, Sean Concannon, Niall Devitt; (Front L–R) Pat Coen, Brendan Noonan, Maria Glynn, Tom Lenihan, Séamus O’Connell.

Refreshments were served afterwards as everyone enjoyed the celebration party. Phone 087 313 7282 for further details or to arrange a viewing of the Museum.

Photos by Josette Farrell. For more photos from the day, check out this album on Facebook.