The Blasket Centre in Dingle, Co. Kerry, was updated in 2020 to include a beautiful new viewing platform providing stunning views of the Atlantic coast and the Great Blasket Island.
But since then, some other major renovations have taken place at this popular tourist attraction, which visitors will appreciate when the center reopens on June 28th.
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A revamp of the interior as well as the addition of new exhibitions, interactive displays, artifacts, audio-visual presentations, and artworks all tell the story of Blasket Island life that ended when the last remaining residents were evacuated by the Irish government in 1953.
The center focuses on much of the traditional work that Blasket Islanders did to eke out a living in this windswept place.
The new exhibitions will explain how they survived on subsistence fishing and farming.
Visitors will also get an insight into their home life, the types of houses they lived in, and the kind of entertainment that was common on the island through a series of sounds and images.
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Visitors from the United States will be particularly interested in the “American Room,” which describes the effect of emigration on rural communities like the Blasket Island.
In fact, many of them ended up in Springfield, Mass., where they settled in the heavily Irish community known as “Hungry Hill.”
The Wild Atlantic Way Viewing Point, which is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, together with these latest enhancements was completed with the help of government agencies and Failte Ireland.
The project also includes the restoration of the original house of the Great Blasket Islander and renowned writer Tomas O’Criomhthain.
Some of the images of island life that visitors will see at the newly revamped center include the old post office, which was built in the 1900s and provided a vital connection with the mainland; the National School, which was located in the center of the village and also served as a church during the summer months, and Peig Sayers’ House, perhaps the island’s most famous person, among other memorabilia.
The center is one of the discovery points along the From the Great Blasket Island to America: The Last Memoir by an Islander.
The Blasket Centre in Dingle is open from March 13th through Sept. 28th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission is €5 for adults, €4 for seniors, and €3 for children/students. A family ticket is €13. Free admission is available on the first Wednesday of each month.