Last weekend over 150 local residents, miners past and present, friends, families, board members and staff gathered to attend mass at The Arigna Mining Experience.
The mass, which was celebrated by Fr Cathal Faughnan, PP was organised to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the county’s flagship historical, cultural and tourist attraction.
Over the previous decade, The Arigna Mining Experience, which was developed to preserve the energy heritage of the Arigna Valley and to ensure Arigna maintained its link with energy themes, past present and future, has attracted in excess of over a quarter of a million visitors.
The people of Arigna Valley were left devastated back in the early 1990s when the last remaining coal mine closed its doors forcing unemployment and emigration upon this close knit yet proud community.
However, the locals refused to give up and a dedicated, passionate few, headed by Arigna Mining Experience Chairperson and former miner, Seamus Rynn, decided to form a committee.
Together, and with the help of staff and guides who are themselves former miners, the team has made a personal commitment to do everything in their power to help create awareness of the unique history of this industry and the people who worked in it.
The Arigna Mining Experience Museum and Exhibition Centre provides all visitors with an insight into what life was like for not only the miners, but also the wider community resident in the Arigna Valley.
Recognising the museum’s success and paying tribute to those who gave support and acknowledging the commitment of the staff, Seamus Rynn told the Leitrim Observer, “We wanted to preserve the heritage and local traditions of Arigna and I think we’ve managed to achieve that with the Arigna Mining Experience which makes this landmark anniversary worthy of a celebration.”
One of the highlights of the weekend was the Miners’ Dance. Held on Saturday night in the Lough Allen Hotel, Drumshanbo, the evening proved to be a roaring success as happy revellers wined, dined and danced the night away to the sounds of local band, Rakish.
The next day the revellers donned sensible walking shoes as they took part in a special walk along the Miner’s Way on Sunday.
A wonderful weekend was had by all and Arigna Mining Experience would like to sincerely thank and acknowledge everyone who attended these events; especially those who were involved in the organisation of this truly memorable Gathering.