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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Article published in Roscommon People, 07/12/2007

Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre, Tulsk, has seen changes this year. It has dramatically shifted from being primarily a tourist attraction, to being utilised as a true community centre; a focal point for events and services which are of genuine benefit to the people in the immediate area, and also the county as a whole.

The heritage centre is run under the auspices of Tulsk Action Group, a board of directors who volunteer their time to participate in the betterment of the area. Set up in 1992, the Tulsk Action Group has been tirelessly active in developing many projects from conception to completion. These include a 10 bed respite centre, and social housing initiatives, but the Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre is their flagship project. Funding has been gratefully received from Bord Fáilte and Ireland West Tourism, Roscommon County Council, Fás, the Arigna Leader, Clann Credo, the Heritage Council, and Pobal’s Community Service Project. With this backing Cruachan Aí was officially opened on 31st October 1999, and continues to upgrade regularly, directly employing 6 staff at present.

While remaining an important Roscommon tourist attraction by interpreting the Medieval and Celtic history of one of Europe’s oldest and largest unexplored Royal sites - the Rath Cruachan/Rathcroghan complex - the exhibition area is now seeing new life in it’s use as indoor space for a regular Holistic and Crafts Fair. On the second Saturday of every month, Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre invites us to participate in this remarkable event; a day which blends the best of Art and Crafts with a range of Holistic therapies to soothe the soul, and compliments the existing gift shop which is stocked with the same attention to quality. Previous stallholders have introduced us to personalised Bach Flower remedies, comforting Massage incorporating muscle relaxation with heady aromatherapy, Eastern Tantric philosophies, the gentle but effective art of Homeopathy, expertly hosted Group Meditation sessions with individual Readings to provide guidance to the troubled, and Reflexology to pamper tired toes - as well as unusual books, exquisite turned wooden pieces lovingly polished to enhance deep natural hues, and Bog Oak which has been carefully crafted to breathe fresh life and purpose into the ancient timbers of this land. The next Holistic & Craft Fair is to be held on Saturday 8th December, from 12 noon to 5pm, and new stallholders are always welcome. Door admission is free.

Another area in which we can see a huge turn around has been the café at Cruachan Aí. Since taking over the lease in September, chef Cathy O’Neill has committed to providing non-processed foods prepared totally on-site, and the “Illy” gourmet coffees are beyond compare! Fresh scones served with jam and cream, home made apple tart, and carrot cake options will prove a real test to any strong willed dieter, but the healthy options such as nourishing home-made soup with wheaten bread, rich beef stew, chicken curry, lasagne, shepherd’s pie, or the mouth watering honey chilli chicken combine to provide a range that will suit anyone’s taste. O’Neills Café is a welcoming and valuable addition to the entire area.

With regular weekly events such as the Writers Club on Wednesday from 10am - 12, Morning Meditation classes for stress management and relaxation, Massage Therapy days, and a full schedule of upcoming classes and workshops for both children and adults, why not send an email to to be put on the mailing list so you will know what’s going on this week? Or, you can ring the Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre on 071 9651957. Better still, drop in for a coffee and a chat!

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