Comhar Chuigéal

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Latest news

15th June 2020: Course dates now available for this year’s Watersport Camp in Leitir Mealláin.

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About Comhar Chuigéal

Do chéad fáilte romhat! Comhar Chuigéal is a community development organisation based in Leitir Mealláin (anglicised as Lettermullen), an island just off the south-west coast of County Galway, Ireland. Leitir Mealláin is one of a cluster of small islands known as Ceantar na nOileán (generally called The Islands in English). Ceantar na nOileán includes the major islands of Leitir Mealláin, Garmna (Gorumna in English) and Leitir Móir (Lettermore). These are very close to the Irish coast and are fully-linked to the mainland by bridges.

It’s worth pointing out to new visitors that ‘The Islands’ isn’t the same thing as ‘The Aran Islands’ (which include Árainn/Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr). Although fairly close to each other, these two island groupings are entirely separate entities. See this map of the area.

Located about 36 miles by road from Galway city, Ceantar na nOileán is part of Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) region. In the 2016 National Census, 93.8% of the population reported that they had Irish and 85.3% of them stated that they speak it on a daily basis.

Comhar Chuigéal was established in 1999 to promote and develop the social, economic and cultural life of the area, and to assist with development among key groups in the community: the young, the elderly, women, the unemployed and so on… We’re available to give help and advice to local committees. We have a particular interest in the conservation of the area surrounding Ceantar na nOileán. Following this, we work in active partnership with the private sector to promote community projects.

Comhar Chuigéal Teoranta is fully-registered as a Friendly Society. It receives grant aid from Údarás na Gaeltachta, and is administered by a commitee comprised of six members.

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The Lettermullen and Garumna Heritage Centre

Opening times

Open Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 2.00pm, all year round.

The Centre can also be opened at other times by prior arrangement — including Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays — provided staff are available.

Ring +353 87 697 4951 for enquiries.

Opened in June 2009, the Lettermullen and Garumna Heritage Centre, Ionad Oidhreachta Leitir Mealláin agus Gharumna, is located next door to Comhar Chuigéal.

It houses the private collection of varied and fascinating artefacts collected over the years by John Bhaba Jeaic Ó Conghaile. This wonderful collection has been placed on public display in the Centre, courtesy of John.

The collection is rich and varied. It includes:

  • A photographic archive.
  • A library of printed materials: newspapers, books, magazines, posters, flyers and much more.
  • A store of tools used in the crafts of forging, farming, carpentry and cooking.

We invite everyone, both locals and visitors, to call in and see Bailliúchán John Bhaba Jeaic for themselves. It will of course be of particular interest to anyone whose ancestors came from here; giving, as it does, a tangible insight into life in The Islands long ago.

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Irish language college

Comhar Chuigéal is a facilities provider for Coláiste Spleodair, an Irish language college which organises active, student-centred courses. To ensure that all students achieve their potential, time spent sa gColáiste is at a maximum. Students attend two and a half hours of class every morning from Monday to Saturday with qualified teachers. The curriculum is highly interactive, with emphasis on oral language and student participation. A broad range of activities take place in the afternoon: art, craft, sport, music, drama, dance and much more. Evening activities include céilithe, themed nights and inter-house competitions. Weather permitting, a day trip takes place during the last week of the course. Lá na gClubanna, which involves a visit to another centre, is another feature of the course. On the last Sunday, students’ families are invited to attend an open day, during which students perform a show and display the results of their hard work.

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The Leitir Mealláin Watersport Camp

Register in time!

Registration for the 2020 camp is now open, using the registration form. The number of places is limited, however. Each one must be reserved, and the full fee paid, in advance. Register early, to avoid disappointment.

Participants, fees ⁊ dates

  • Participant age: 8–18 years old
  • Fee: €50
  • Course length: One week
  • Course dates:
    • Course 1: 20–24 July (FULLY BOOKED!)
    • Course 2: 27–31 July
    • Course 2: 03–07 August
    • Course 2: 10–14 August
    • Course 2: 17–21 August
    • Course 2: 24–28 August
  • NB: This year, because of Covid 19 and health and safety considerations, the camps will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Water Camp activities

  • Kyacking
  • Pier jumping
  • Water trampoline
  • Paddleboarding
  • Games and tasks
  • Speedboat and ringo

Camp aims

Our aims in running this Water Camp are:

  • To give participants the opportunity to experience a range of different seawater activities.
  • To give them the opportunity to experience our local flora and fauna; particularly those of the sea.
  • To help them develop a deeper awareness of, and respect for, the environment.
  • To help them gain a greater insight into their own innate abilities.

We want everyone who attends the Camp to get great enjoyment from it. We want them to make new friends and have fun there but also to take something worthwhile and lasting home with them.

Bring with you

All participants are required to have the following items:

  • Runners
  • Sunscreen

They must also have these items with them each day:

  • Lunch and suitable drink
  • Swimware and a towel
  • A change of clothing
  • Rainware

The tide

The tide has no master! It’s necessary to adjust the starting time of Watersport Camp activities slightly, on a day-by-day basis, to adapt to its ebb and flow. Participants are kept informed as necessary.

Staff qualifications ⁊ water safety

Everyone on the Campa Spóirt Uisce Leitir Mealláin team holds appropriate professional qualifications.

We take safety guidelines very seriously and adhere to them strictly.

Water Camp rules

The working language of Campa Spóirt Uisce Leitir Mealláin is Irish. All activities are run in Irish.

Bad behaviour will not be tolerated. In the event of its occurance, participants may be suspended.

Each day’s activities begin each morning at Halla Chomhar Chuigéal, where a register is taken. Participants must be present for this.

Parents / legal guardians must drop participants off at Halla Chomhar Chuigéal every morning and collect them again from there once the day’s activities have been concluded.

Any participant who has a wetsuit must be wearing this when they arrive at the Water Camp each morning.

Every participant must wear a buoyancy aid, a wetsuit and a helmet while they’re in the water.

The walk from Halla Chomhar Chuigéal to the quay, and back again after, is an essential part of the Water Camp experience, and is compulsory.

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The Leitir Mealláin Kayaking Club

Comhar Chuigéal runs a series of kayaking camps every summer.

Do you enjoy meeting new people and making new friends? Are you looking for something fun to do this summer? How do you feel about going on an adventure; to go island hopping? Why not sign up for our beginners’ kayaking course? It’s been a long winter and now it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors! Try kayaking in a relaxed, fun atmosphere with Leitir Mealláin Kayak Club. Make new friends and see parts of our island that can only be seen from the bay. Get confident on the water, with an emphasis on fun and safety. Fully certified instructors and all necessary gear are provided: boat, buoyancy aid, wetsuit ⁊ɼl…

You’ll receive an ICU Level 2 accreditation at the end of the six weeks. And the Beginners’ Kayaking course is part of a membership package so the fun doesn’t finish when the camp does!

Contact Comhar Chuigéal for further information.
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Projects in development

Interpretative Centre

Comhar Chuigéal Teoranta’s Steering Committee met with executives of Údarás na Gaeltachta in Leitir Mealláin in April 2018. Following this meeting, a new project was proposed to develop an Interpretative Centre in the area. This centre is intended to provide an extremely interesting destination for tourists coming to Leitir Mealláin. It’s also our intention that it include a wide range of services, to service both the business and the public communities:

  • Reception.
  • Offices.
  • Café.
  • Toilets.
  • Shop.
  • Service and meeting rooms.
  • Agus ar eile

These facilities will be available to any local group or organisation that might wish to hold a meeting there or to run training courses.

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Walks in Leitir Mealláin

Comhar Chuigéal is developing a series of walks, both guided and un-guided, and specialised outings in Leitir Mealláin. The scenery here is some of the most beautiful in the world, from Ceann Gólaim to Loch an Bhalla in Garumna. The island enjoys a complex network of roads and footpaths, all of which boast excellent views onto the Atlantic.

Our guided tours are intended to be a great way to learn about the history and culture of the area. Our knowledgeable guides will maintain a running commentary during each walk, drawing attention to points of interest, local history and to geographical and archaeological aspects of the area. Maps and directions will be available directly from Comhar Chuigéal and from local businesses. Your walk will be a most peaceful one: the walking routes see very little traffic — and sometimes have none at all!

Map of walks in Leitir Mealláin

Download map in PDF format.

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The Seaweed Centre

Comhar Chuigéal is in ongoing talks with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish seafood development agency) to develop a seaweed centre in Leitir Mealláin.

As an island with a 7,000 kilometre / 4,400 mile coastline, located in the warm and fertile waters of the Gulf Stream, Ireland has an abundance of seaweed. Yet it’s currently one of our least-used resources. Over 650 species of seaweed live and thrive around our shores. It’s gathered as food, processed and used as fertiliser, forms an ingredient in cosmetics and spa treatments, and is the subject of biotechnological and pharmaceutical research.

Marine environments are changing however: sea temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising, the ocean is becoming more acidic and these are affecting distribution and growth patterns. As attention turns increasingly to the sea as a source of food, energy and raw material for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, Ireland’s interesting history of harvesting seaweed is about to begin a new chapter. Following this, we want to know more about the seaweed species found in our own waters here in Ceantar na nOileán, identifying exactly what they are and how they might be being affected over time.

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