HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The Celtic Roots Studio was formed in 1990 by Helen Conneely and has been based in Ballinahown, County Westmeath, since 1998. It was Ireland’s first Économusée, a living museum where visitors can learn about the history of a craft practice, meet the artisan at work, and see the finished pieces on display.
Over time, the studio has become an inherent part of the community and an expression of Conneely’s commitment to support sustainable development through partnership and dialogue, and to being involved with others in how the community of Ballinahown goes forward.
On a personal level, she and her family are committed to craft making and sustainable living. Professionally, and with a qualification in Community Development Practice from NUIG, Conneely has worked with County Council and LEADER initiatives since the 1990s to develop and support policies on sustainable development in rural communities.
As part of this commitment, and through the activities of The Celtic Roots Studio, Conneely became involved in tourism initiatives with a strong emphasis on rural development. She has been instrumental in the development of crafts in the Midlands.