At various times during the course of Irish history the native Irish were disposessed and driven from their lands on Ireland's rich central plains and lush lowlands. They were pushed westwards towards a rocky, barren and infertile seaboard. It is said that Cromwell's soldiers offered the fleeing Irish peasant farmers a stark choice - "To Hell or to Connacht?" Thousands of acres of some of the most fertile land in Europe were granted to a new landlord class. With the advent of Irish Independence, a native Irish government sought to redress this centuries-old imbalance and in the 1930s the vast estates of the former and mostly absentee landlords were divided and redistributed to farmers living on uneconomic holdings.
Land and Language
A small colony of these families were from Gaeltacht areas of Connemara, Mayo and Kerry. They brought with them, of course, their native Irish language and their great love of Irish music, culture and tradition. In the small communities of Rath Cairn (Rathcairn) and Baile Ghib (Gibbstown) in the royal and ancient county of Meath, a resettled Gaeltacht community held steadfast to the language and the way of life of the Gaeltacht. They passed this love of the language and lifestyle to their children and grandchildren who, today, are part of the vibrant community that makes up the distinctive Gaeltacht area.