Our Second Cultural Social Innovation case study from Ireland brings us to Castelrea in Roscommon.

Here the aim of the Trinity Arts Centre is to provide a vibrant venue for music, arts, culture, and heritage in the west of the county and further afield. The Arts Centre had the objective of nurturing the rich culture of music, song, drama, and dance that was already present in the area but had no place to base itself to preserve and grow the rich and varied heritage of the surrounding communities.

Castelerea Community Arts Group, which established the Trinity Arts Centre, is made up of a group of local people from Castlerea who have volunteered their time and energy over many years to make this innovative cultural project a reality. This group of dynamic and energetic individuals continue to be a great example of what Community Development in Castlerea is all about. Castlerea Community arts Group is the perfect embodiment of why small communities in rural Ireland survive, because of the pride of its people and their native place.

The Trinity Arts Centre is located in an old Church. This historic building has been beautifully restored to a high standard, using best conservation practices to preserve the fabric of the original structure. The most stunning stained-glass windows provide a spectacle of colour and design. The original Queen Anne timber trusses have been exposed to open up the vaulted ceiling. Panels of cut stone and classic interior lighting help to create a beautiful venue with a unique atmosphere. To the rear of the building, they have built a modern extension with kitchen facilities and meeting rooms which can facilitate public and private community functions.

The key cultural activities carried out in the centre are hosting and organising various shows and live performances from actors, musicians and local people all promoting arts, culture and social gatherings. These events range from comedy nights to film screenings to plays, all focused on local topics and people from the surrounding area.

Castelerea Community Arts Group have worked over the years to develop links with funding bodies including Roscommon Integrated Development Company, various Government Departments and Roscommon Co Council. They continue to develop links that will help expand this project and sustain Trinity Arts Centre into the future, providing a much needed outlet to local people and creatives.

Having been at events in the Arts Centre before, I can say it is an exemplary place to hold group events that accommodate many people as well as for smaller more inclusive purposes. The setting of the centre within an old church shows attendees how historic institutions can be innovated to cater for modern changing local needs, without letting people forget the largesse of the previous building and it’s past. The wider location of Roscommon and the Northwest is an area steeped in culture and pride in local creativity and artistic talent and this centre is the perfect incubator to foster that talent.

In an area where economic and social development is considered to be less extensive than other places in Ireland, the Trinity Arts Centre provides the local people with a much-needed avenue to connect and engage in creative and cultural, social activity.

To discover more about the Trinity Arts Centre in Castlerea check out their website: http://www.castlereaarts.com/.