Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys was on a whistlestop tour of Longford on Saturday.
The Minister saw the Motte in Granard and was then treated to an overview of the great writers and literary connections to Edgeworthstown. She later visited Corlea Trackway and the Backstage Theatre in Longford Town.
Speaking to the Leader in Edgeworthstown, Minister Humphreys said that supporting local heritage was key, and she paid tribute to the great work being done in Edgeworthstown, where it is planned to extend the literary trail and link up all the churches in the area including the oldest church in Ireland which is located just three miles outside of the town.
â€œI very much support the heritage culture â€˜capitalâ€™ which is very big now,â€ she added.
â€œWhat you have here in Edgeworthstown is all about the human story and everybody wants that.â€
The TD for Cavan/Monaghan went on to say that the proposals made to her in terms of the promotion of Edgeworthstown and the surrounding area, were very â€œpowerfulâ€.
â€œPeople want to hear the stories behind the history,â€ she continued.
â€œThese people have done great work in this county and there are some fantastic ideas.â€
Minister Humphreys also visited Backstage Theatre. The facility has been struggling to survive after close to 40% of its funds were cut over the last couple of years.
â€œLocal theatres are funded through the Arts Council and my department provides the funds to the Arts Council,â€ she explained. â€œWe provide the funding and then make the decisions as to where it will go. Hopefully now that the economy has improved there will be more funding available for local theatres and the arts; I believe the local theatre will certainly survive,â€ Minister Humphries explained.
â€œI am all for the promotion of arts in children and we have a committee that works closely with the Department of Education & Skills in relation to this,â€ the Minister continued. â€œWe are currently working very closely with the schools in relation to the 1916 commemoration; arts transcends all boundaries.â€
While in Edgeworthstown the Minister was given a brief, if not concise history of the localityâ€™s association to the great literary giants of times gone by including Oscar Wilde, his sister Isola who is buried in the town; Oliver Goldsmith; Padraic Columb; Maria Edgeworth and many more.
â€œThe tomb of the Edgeworth Family is here in Edgeworthstown and the church there is part of our history,â€ Mattie Farrell told the Minister.
â€œRichard Edgeworth designed the massive spire that you can see on the church now, in 1800, and he was awarded a gold medal from the Royal Dublin Society for his engineering.
â€œAs you know St Melâ€™s Cathedral restoration was one of the biggest in Europe and it cost â‚¬30m.
â€œIt is envisaged that we will be able to connect all the churches to St Melâ€™s as we extend and develop the literary trail here in Edgeworthstown.â€