Forbairt Chonamara Láir Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) is leading Connemara Láir towards a sustainable future through impactful renewable energy projects and community-driven initiatives.


Since its inception in 2007, Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC has been at the forefront of promoting sustainable development within the Connemara Láir communities. Supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta, this community embodies a commitment to developing a Green Gaeltacht, prioritising sustainability, and community vitality in Ireland’s Gaelic-speaking regions.

Energy Master Plan

They completed their Energy Master Plan in 2022. The Energy Master Plan allows communities to assess and audit their energy use by working with an external energy consultant. The costs are 100% funded by SEAI. With the insights from this audit, they then created a plan in line with the aims of their community.

The concept pillars that Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC work towards includes several core activities:

  • Community Awareness and Engagement: Utilising educational programs and local events to enhance environmental awareness.
  • Education and Training: Partnering with educational bodies to deliver training focused on sustainable practices.
  • Delivery of Projects: Leading community-centric projects that emphasise renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Following the completion of the Energy Master Plan, the SEC is working on several projects, including:

Meitheal PV Chonamara Láir Project

Central to Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC’s initiatives is the Meitheal PV Chonamara Láir project, a pioneering community based Solar Meitheal energy project. This project represents a significant leap towards renewable energy adoption in the region, involving:

  • Community Participation: Engaging 29 homeowners in a Solar Meitheal, grouping them together to ease the installation process solar PV panels.
  • Contractor Engagement: Attracting interest from five contractors prepared to support the solar installations.
  • Future Expansion: Plans for reviewing and awarding contracts in 2024, with the aim to further expand solar energy use in local homes and facilities.

Meitheal Hallaí Pobail Chonamara Láir

Meitheal Hallaí Pobail Chonamara Láir is a result of the Energy Master Plan findings. Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC carried out an energy audit on six community halls.  The audits highlighted the importance of a complete retrofit on all the local community halls to reduce overheads costs and carbon footprint.

Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC along with Western Energy Agency or Gníomhaireacht Fuinnimh an Iarthair (GFI) have formed a network group with the Community Halls in Chonamara Láir. Their aim is to secure capital funding to retrofit all community halls and future proof them for generations to come. They have already made an application to Galway County Council for the Climate Action Fund and are awaiting a decision. 

By working together, we can secure more compatible prices and deliver united approach in creating a more sustainable manner of working.
Máirín Ní Choisdealbha-Seoige , Forbairt Chonamara Láir Development Officer

Greenway Expansion Project

As part of its commitment to sustainable community development, Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC is spearheading the expansion of a 10-kilometer greenway. That will connect Rosmuc to the existing trail network near the N59 in Recess. This project aims to enhance local infrastructure for transportation and recreation while also reducing the community’s carbon footprint.

The greenway will provide a safe, scenic route for pedestrians and cyclists, encouraging healthier lifestyles and greater environmental awareness. It also aims to boost local tourism and support the economy by making the area more accessible and appealing to visitors. This project is almost finished, and the local community are very excited about the increased accessibility and recreational opportunities it will provide.

Flagship Projects

The community also participates in broader renewable and energy efficiency projects as part of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s flagship initiatives. These projects are crucial for setting benchmarks in sustainable practices across Gaeltacht regions, enhancing community resilience, and promoting long-term sustainability.

The flagship projects are substantially supported by a combination of European Union funding, LEAP and ST3ER. Údarás na Gaeltachta also provides annual administrative grants. The projects include:

  • Bioeconomy Project - Donegal (operational)
  • Biodiversity – Mayo (about to go to planning)
  • Energy Efficencyon in Communities – Kerry (operational)
  • Sustainability Centre (7 Rs) – Gaillimh – Conamara (awaiting planning permission)

What’s next?

Forbairt Chonamara Láir SEC has made substantial progress in transforming Connemara Láir into a model for renewable energy adoption in rural communities. The successful coordination of the Solar Meitheal project and other initiatives has paved the way for further development and scaling of renewable energy projects within the community. As they say, taking the first step is always the hardest!

Read more about SEAI’s SEC programme