I visited the Michael Cusack centre by complete accident. I was actually on my way to the Burren Centre in Kilfenora when I saw the sign and figured it was closer than Kilfenora. My uncle had been going on about how great the centre was a few weeks ago so I figured I’d go down and see it.
The centre is tucked away down a little road between Ballyvaughan and Kilfenora. Thankfully it’s well signposted. The only distinguishing feature from the road are the flags flying outside. For a place that’s in the middle of nowhere, it has a beautiful centre. The building is looks very new and blends into the surroundings. A short walk down the path is a thatched cottage, home of Michael Cusack.
Entry for a student was about 4 euro so a trip here won’t break the bank. The man at reception was chatty and friendly and explained the whole thing to me. I was happy to walk around the education room and read the displays which are in English and Irish, bonus points for that. I usually get really bored walking from one display to another but these were super interesting. They take you through his early life, education, early career, motivation behind founding the GAA, trouble when he did found it and his later life. I was slightly traumatized when I realised how terribly his life ended.
Just a few minutes after I had started reading, another worker, Seamus, came in and we started to chat about the impact that Michael Cusack had on modern Ireland. The fact that GAA clubs are not exclusively located in Ireland are a testimony to the legacy that he left behind. Seamus was so enthusiastic about the topic and knew loads of little facts and points on the life of Michael Cusack.
The walk from the indoor display to the cottage is short but pretty. A row of trees line the path down and it was explained that they were planted for the anniversary a few years ago.
And then the most beautiful little cottage appeared. This cottage houses a three part audio visual on the early life, education and finally the meeting in Hayes Hotel in Thurles. The house is decorated with appropriate pieces of furniture and the videos run in sequence while you move from one room to another.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this attraction because I’m not all that interested in GAA but when I got there, I found myself becoming enthralled in the life of the man who founded the GAA. Everything is so well presented that it’s hard for me to fault anything about my experience there. Big shout out to the staff that were there on the day. They seemed to have all the time in the world to speak with me and we had a great conversation about anything and everything. Would I go back? Absolutely. And I think that every GAA team should consider going to this to see and appreciate the man from Carron. You cam find out more by logging on to their website http://michaelcusack.ie/