AN Irish language community organisation has launched a new heritage project to research and celebrate Twinbrook's 50-year history. 

Ionad na Fuiseoige's 'Stories From The Estate' initiative seeks to explore and bring to life the heritage and associated narratives of the estate and beyond.

The project, which was launched today (Thursday), will seek community-based volunteers both to offer their own stories and experiences of Twinbrook as well as offering skills and training in heritage research.

The initiative will mark the 50th anniversary of the Twinbrook through the development of walking tours and production of interactive maps.

Sam Guthrie, Heritage Project Co-ordinator, explained: "The real nexus is that with the 50th anniversary of people moving into Twinbrook estate there has been a real strong local feeling that the first generation of people are getting into their old age now and some people are passing away. There's a real want and desire within the community to put together a heritage project to conserve memories of the area for future generations, and to do it now while there's people here who can tell their stories."

As well as walking tours, Mr Guthrie said the project will create an oral archive as well an interactive installation at Ionad na Fuiseoige.

"It's really good that people in the local community can actually enact their heritage and play a part in that narrative," he said.

"We hope to run a series of heritage tours to draw people into Twinbrook and to West Belfast, to see the stories out here and get involved."

Stories From The Estate will, of course, feature key events and figures from Twinbrook, such as IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, or even the All-Ireland-winning badminton team that hailed from the estate. However, the project will largely avoid the "big ticket events approach to history" and instead promote the value of social history. 

"Having a social history is vitally important thing to really understand how your family lived in the past," Sam explained.

"In terms of Twinbrook, if we're not thinking about how people lived their lives on this estate we don't learn an awful lot from them. It's the lives of ordinary people that are going to be really important."