Within The Aran Project are a multitude of smaller projects that go to make it up. To make the big thing happen, we must deal with all the little things. These myriad little projects are outlined in the Pilgrim Constitution. Perhaps some of them are not so little! They include projects like growing our own food, reviving local crafts, promoting knowledge of our folklore and Celtic tradtions, finding local sources of alternative energy, creating new patterns of worship drawing on the Irish and Celtic tradtion, reviving the monastic model of church and so on.
Historically, these projects have come on-stream organically. For example, once people came to live in Inis Mór in 1985 it was possible to begin growing food. Craft work also began almost immediately because from the beginning there were people interested and talented in it. Killeany Lodge began as a project in 1986 when it became obvious that accommodation for guests, meetings, workshops, group worship and so on was going to be a problem.
Since then, people have come with their own personal projects. One person came to be a hermit, another came to gather the folklore, another came to do organic gardening. Some perhaps were less clear ‹ they came to find direction in their lives or to be healed or to look for support. But all of them contributed to the achievement of the overall vision and their personal projects found acceptance in the context of the broader project.
The newsletter "An Charraig" began as an ongoing project in 1986. It was superceded by The AISLING Magazine in 1991. Along with The AISLING Magazine came all the printing and publishing equipment which now makes possible the publication of many other things. For a time, the island newsletter Nuachtán Árann was being edited and published from An Charraig. New projects have and are emerging out of this facility all the time.
Since the purchase of Killeany Lodge in 1987 there have been continuous building projects going on. In 2003, an ecological architect was commissioned to draw up new plans for the refurbishment and extension of Killeany Lodge. The resulting plan is hugely exciting but massively expensive. How we can proceed has yet to be manifested. In the meantime, smaller refurbishment jobs continue to be done to the building and its standard of accommodation continues to rise.
The building of the new An Charraig was begun in 1992, and in 2005 there are still building projects being carried on there. In 2003, the upstairs at An Charraig was extensively refurbished and is now a lot more comfortable and pleasing to the eye. A new stone chicken shed was also constructed. In 2004, work began on building an extension to the family house.In 1994, Aisling Árann was involved in organising a 6-month full-time organic growing course on Inis Mór. This led to a number of growers producing organic vegetables for the local market. In 2004, this project was expanded and renewed, under the aegis of Comharchumann Forbartha Árann but with An Charraig as coordinator. This renewed project involves the training of local people to grow their own food and to produce for the market. In 2005, the number of plastic tunnels on the island is set to increase from four to at least ten. All seven restaurants on the island are being provided with organic island produce, and locals are able to avail of a Saturday market stall and a weekly box system.
And so it goes on. One project leads to another or prepares the way for another. Each project operates like a building block - slowly the overall structure is growing and becoming more visible.