Roundstone Time Capsule

On the first day of January 2013 a time capsule was interred in the new public space dedicated to Alexander Nimmo close to the pier in Roundstone, Co. Galway.

The time capsule project was the bright idea of Patrick McDonagh from the Shamrock Bar in Roundstone and an energetic committee brought the idea to fruition. The project sought to encourage everybody with a connection to Roundstone to submit a letter to the future generations containing life stories, memories, family trees, old/recent photographs. The entries had to be submitted on acid free paper and envelopes which were available to purchase for €10. The capsule will be opened 50 years from now in 2063.

I caught up with Richard Duc de Stacpoole from the organising committee who explained the genesis of the project and the rationale behind the idea. It was in many ways a project designed to capture the memories and stories of local people so that they could be shared with future generations.

The project really caught the imagination and hundreds of letters and photographs were submitted to the time capsule by Roundstone residents and those with an association with Roundstone from around the world. The capsule was open for submissions during the summer of 2012 and attracted visitors throughout the year. Padraic Lydon and Corina, both from Carna, but with strong connections to Roundstone, were one of the first to submit a letter which they did one evening during the summer of 2012. That same evening late last summer they met a family group from Australia who had travelled to Roundstone in order to submit a letter. Padraic and Corina were excited to be in Roundstone for the closing and burying of the capsule. Padraic was a fisherman for forty years and in the audio below he talks about his memories of Roundstone and the changes he has seen over the years.

I also caught up with Francis Sullivan who arrived at the pier with a letter from his son which will be added to the capsule before all the submissions are vacuum packed and it is fully sealed next week. Francis thought the time capsule was a great idea and the package from his son contained some old photographs of Roundstone as well as a letter.

The time capsule was brought down to the new public triangle close to the pier by local children following twelve O’clock mass. A short well attended closing and burying ceremony then took place on a beautiful winter’s afternoon in one of the most scenic and picturesque settings in the west of Ireland. The Twelve bens glistened in the low sunlight and the sea in the harbour was flat calm.

It was one of the first events of the Gathering Ireland 2013 following the spectacular launch of the yearlong celebration on New Year’s Eve in Dublin. There was a huge turnout in Roundstone for the official closing and burying ceremony with people gathered around the pier for most of the afternoon. As we heard from Richard de Stacpoole the ceremony attracted a group of twelve visitors from Italy who had never been to Ireland before let alone this beautiful village on the West coast.

Following the burial of the time capsule, Connemara Rugby Club continued the festivities on the pier with a novel fund raising event. Music and food were provided and a set of rugby goal posts was floated in the middle of the harbour. A goal kicking competition set against the spectacular back drop of the twelve bens provided a focus for the afternoon and a large crowd were kept entertained. The local hostelries were doing a great trade serving hot and cold refreshments.

Patrick McDonagh, the instigator of the Time Capsule Project, was kept busy for the afternoon fishing rugby balls from the water.

The Time Capsule Project epitomises the ethos of the Gathering with a local community providing a novel and enjoyable celebration of their own place enjoyed by local and visitors alike. The event also encouraged a discussion about Roundstone today and the direction the community would like to steer for the next fifty years before the capsule is opened in 2063.

Content and audio courtesy Finn Delaney.