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20/09/2021

Creative Young Visitor Project encourages children to engage with key heritage sites throughout Co Roscommon

Creative Young Visitor Project encourages children to engage with key heritage sites throughout Co Roscommon

Lough Key Forest Park

The innovate Creative Roscommon Young Visitor Project aims to encourage families and young children to celebrate and explore a series of outdoor heritage sites in the county through a collection of fun and creative resources. The project is being launched this week by Roscommon County Council to coincide with the reopening of outdoor heritage sites under revised Government guidelines from today, Monday, April 26.

The project which is aimed at primary children throughout the county has been developed by Roscommon County Council, through the Creative Ireland Creative Communities Jobs Stimulus Measure 2020. Through a collaboration with artist Catherine Fanning and writer Maura Gilligan, the Young Visitor Project features a number of resources including drawings, stories and information which are available as printable downloads on www.visitroscommon.ie.

The project features ‘Rossie the Heritage Duck’ as the main character and encourages children to visit, colour and read about a number of key heritage sites in County Roscommon namely, Roscommon Castle, Roscommon Abbey, Lough Key, Boyle Abbey, Elphin Windmill and Tulsk Abbey. The printable resources include interesting facts and stories about each heritage site, colouring pages featuring images of the tourist site and a map of County Roscommon detailing the key locations of heritage sites in the county.

The project is being spearheaded by the Arts, Tourism and Heritage Officers on the Culture Team at Roscommon County Council and Arts Officer, Rhona McGrath has encouraged families and young children to become involved.

“This is a wonderful project which allows children to engage creatively with some key heritage sites in their own county and will allow them to learn some interesting historical facts in a fun and engaging way by reading, colouring and visiting sites such as Boyle Abbey or Roscommon Castle for example. By downloading the resources, children can learn for example the fact that Boyle Abbey was the first successful Cistercian Abbey in Connacht founded in 1161 on the banks of the Boyle River, where the monastery became a famous centre of learning for more than 400 years,” said Rhona.

The Arts Officer has also encouraged primary schools throughout the county to become involved in the exciting project by placing a link to the downloadable resources of Creative Roscommon Young Visitor Project on their school websites.

“We are spreading the message through local press and social media and I would also encourage parents or guardians to take a photo of children’s finished artwork and post it on social media with the hashtag #visitroscommon,” said Rhona.  

Heritage Officer Nollaig Feeney highlighted the fact that County Roscommon features a wealth of fascinating key heritage sites.

“Through the fun and entertaining medium of Rossie the Heritage Duck, children can be introduced to some of the top heritage sites in County Roscommon. For example, did you know that Elphin Windmill is one of the oldest working windmills in Ireland, and the only fully restored working windmill in Connacht or the fact that the sculpted stone tomb of Felim O’Conor, King of Connacht, stands close to the High Altar of Roscommon Abbey- these are just some of the fascinating facts waiting to be discovered and introduced to a new younger generation. County Roscommon has a plethora of top heritage sites just waiting to be discovered,” said Nollaig.

Rossie the Heritage Duck was the brainchild of artist Catherine Fanning and writer Maura Gilligan has brought the heritage sites to life through a series of short stories on each location.

A visual artist on the Roscommon Artist Panel, based in Sligo with over 20 years’ experience, Catherine Fanning is a community arts development worker and she was delighted to collaborate with Roscommon County Council on this innovative project. Catherine developed a series of drawings of a number of heritage buildings to encourage children to explore through colour. Catherine asked writer Maura Gilligan, a published writer and poet, with vast experience of working with children, adults, and older people to work alongside her.

With the reopening of outdoor heritage sites under revised Government guidelines from Monday, April 26th, Tourism Officer with Roscommon County Council Eiméar Dowd has advised people to plan ahead and enjoy the many heritage sites throughout the county.

“Now that many of the outdoor heritage are re-opened and travel restrictions being revised to allow people travel within their own county, this is the ideal time to get out and about and enjoy the many great tourist sites we have throughout County Roscommon. The days are getting longer and the weather is improving, so why not pack a picnic and make a day of it, by visiting some of our amazing heritage sites such as Roscommon Castle, Tulsk Abbey or Lough Key. There is so much waiting to be discovered right here in County Roscommon,” said Eiméar.

Printable resources are available to download through www.visitroscommon.ie

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