Last month local residents and community representatives came together to celebrate the official opening and launch of the Gillaroo Communities Photo Exhibition and booklet. The photo exhibition depicted “Everyday Life in a Border Community” within Kiltyclogher and Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, and Garrison and Cashel, Co. Fermanagh in times gone by.
Young people from these areas were trained over a six week period to use Photoshop to restore old photographs, which they sourced from their local communities. Speaking at the exhibition, Johnny Dunne Lambe, a participant of the course, said that he had found the course interesting and he “quickly made friends with everyone in the group no matter what side of the border they were from and I also picked up quite a lot of Photoshop skills”.
Anne Cassidy MFA, who officially opened the exhibition and launched the booklet, said that the photos on display were part of our shared history and should be celebrated. Anne also commended the young people for their work and acknowledged the exhibition as being testament to their hard work.
The exhibition, which took place in Cashel Community Centre, is part of a wider Gillaroo Communities Project primarily funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and administered by Leitrim Development Company. Funding support for the project has also been received from Leitrim County Council.
The aim of the Gillaroo Communities Project, which commenced in October 2011, is to foster greater interaction and integration within the four communities while enhancing communication and reconciliation. This is achieved through engaging a broad cross section of the local population in training and peace and reconciliation building activities designed to encourage participants to work together to build a shared future for the cross-border area. Delivered over an eighteen month period, the project targets a number of specific groups including adults, schools, youth clubs, older men and church groups.
Dolores McSharry, Project Co-ordinator, said:,“I would like to acknowledge the generous support we’ve received for the Gillaroo Communities Project from the funders, namely the International Fund for Ireland, Leitrim Development Company and Leitrim County Council.
“It’s been a real success in addressing some of the traditional barriers that have held communities in the area back from interacting and working together. This has lead to tremendous benefits on the ground, bringing people together that mightn’t have interacted before and creating new friendships.”