A NEW heritage website celebrating the rich history of the Upper Springfield area has been officially launched.
The website, which includes fascinating images dating as far back as the 1890s, was launched as part of Glór na Móna's ‘Faoi Scáth an tSléibhe – Connecting People and Place in the Upper Springfield Area’ project.
Images from the Falls Park and the City Cemetery in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as captivating photos of the conflict are amongst those included in the collection.
As well as an interactive heritage website, the project also includes a physical exhibition and a documentary charting the inspirational story of the Upper Springfield.
In addition, the project has collated interviews and archival footage of community activists past and present, including an in depth interview with the late Fr Des Wilson.
Speaking at Friday’s launch in Gaelionad Mhic Goill, Dr Michael Pierse, a Senior Lecturer in Irish Literature and academic expert in the field of working class history, said the project is about "deepening our cultural heritage".
"Projects like this restore dignity; give areas like this a better sense of their rich histories and their importance," he said.
"I’d like to commend the team at Glór na Móna on this wonderful project. It’s an outstanding example of partnership between the community and academics and practitioners in public history—an initiative that both changes our vision of the past and has a vision for the future, as I can see through Glór na Móna’s ambition to extend these activities into a new long-term community hub."
Michael Lyons, from Redhead Conference and Exhibitions, who designed the community heritage exhibition said: "The scope of heritage material being excavated in the Upper Springfield is extraordinary. For future interpretation, public display and interactive engagement, the team at Glór na Móna have established an initiative that will form the basis of many future heritage projects."
Dr Paul Mullan, Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund NI, commented: "Glór na Mona project is a great example of how community heritage can reach into the heart of a community to tell its story in a very personal but relatable way. It reveals a community through decades of good and challenging times. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delighted to have supported this great work."
Concluding the event, Executive Director of Glór na Móna, Dr Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh said: "The Upper Springfield and Greater Ballymurphy area is renowned for its exemplary ability to develop ground-breaking community self-help initiatives spanning over 50 years and our website, exhibition and documentary films aim to preserve, showcase and make this hidden history accessible as a valuable community resource that helps embed and strengthen the community's pride and connection to local place.
"The project has been built on community participation from the beginning and overlapped with the considerable community support we have evidenced in our recent feasibility study undertaken on new flagship Irish medium community capital facility, Croí na Carraige on the land adjacent to our current Gaelionad Mhic Goill building. This feasibility study identified our community heritage offering as central to a vision for a vibrant multi-purpose Irish Medium hub with families, young people and the local community at its heart. We look forward to working with the National Lottery, Heritage fund to expand our archive and help make this vision a reality."
To visit the project website or for more information click here.