A digital working hub is open in Kilfenora from Monday 8 March 2021 (9am-6pm weekdays), located in the Burren Centre – use the main door in Kilfenora Square.
It offers access to high-speed broadband, and contains 4 ‘hot-desks’
that can be booked online from Monday at https://www.digiclare.ie/
The Hub has a photocopier (bring your own copy paper), and a
tea-station including coffee-making facilities. (WCs are also available). Given
the Covid context, sanitisation is available on entry, and users should wear
facemasks or shields.
The charge for working there is just €10 per day (or €40 for an entire week).
This is one of a dozen or so digihubs now in operation around Clare, in a programme managed by Clare Council’s Head of IT, Urban McMahon (from Kilfenora).
Good news, a community action group has been formed to
develop and promote Kilfenora!
Most people in the Kilfenora community would agree that
there is a clear need for re-generation, especially since the removal of our post
Yet for some time, Kilfenora and its associated townlands have
been missing out on opportunities for grant-aided development schemes from
Clare County Council and other funders. In addition, there has been no
mechanism for promoting the village’s interests, nor any effective means of
consulting the community that achieves participation.
the Kilfenora strategic planning exercise in 2018 unfortunately was not
converted into action, in contrast with what happened in some other villages.)
Working with Clare County Council
Recently some concerned villagers met in a teleconference
with the Council (Clare CoCo). A number of departments were involved, plus two
Councillors – Joe Garrihy and Joe Killeen.
A wide-ranging set of ideas (plus photographs
and video) were submitted to the Council about ways to build on our heritage,
and to foster economic, social and cultural development – boosting
attractiveness as a place to live, to work in, or visit as a tourist.
This included a vision of Kilfenora recovering
its position as a vibrant centre of activity in the area of North Clare inside
the Wild Atlantic Way.
The outcome was a promise to
support Kilfenora, provided the village formed a representative group capable
of managing projects, and applying for and managing grant money.
Kilfenora Development action group
Accordingly an action group and consultative panel have been
formed reflecting virtually all of the interest groups in Kilfenora – farming,
retail, employment, tourism, sport, culture, music, accommodation, different
age groups and the Noughaval and Inchovea areas – including specific entities
such as the Burren Centre, Deanery, GAA, IFA, Comhaltas, Kilfenora Céilí Band,
Kilfenora Timeline, Community Hall and School.
The action group will operate under the name Kilfenora
Development, and a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee) has been
formed that allows us to handle grant money.
As recommended by the Council, we will adopt this operating
structure, much of which is already in place following consultative efforts in recent
A core action group to co-ordinate action and
act as a focal point to promote Kilfenora’s interests (and its members already
represent most aspects of the community)
A fixed ‘involvement’ panel – to include any
interest group that is not already represented in the steering group, plus
anyone else serving as an activity project leader; for example, the Kilfenora
Heritage Association, Fr Ned Crosby and Rev Kevin O’Brien (CoI), the School
Principal and a number of volunteers for project work
Contact mailing lists (primarily email,
Whatsapp) for anyone in the community who wishes to be consulted and contribute
ideas; for example we intend to include various Whatsapp groups representing
youth, young mothers etc.
We expect fluidity over time, as volunteers get involved and
fresh blood joins the steering group and involvement panel. A website will be
created (www.kilfenoradev.ie) to serve
as a platform for information-sharing, involvement and promotion. This will
work collaboratively with the village website (www.kilfenoraclare.com) and Kilfenora
Online facebook page, as well as other websites and facebook pages maintained
by village entities, and with the Burren Ecotourism Network.
Members (volunteers) of the initial steering group are
Michael Collins, John O’Gorman, John Morgan, Stephen Hegarty, Mary Pegg, Andy
Lambert, Frances Nagle, Paul Carkill and Edel Barry.
Building on previous work, embracing ideas
Kilfenora Development will build on the efforts of the Kilfenora
Planning Group and the consultation it conducted in 2018, but also other regeneration
ideas that have emerged since – in the village, in the Council and in the
Burren Ecotourism network.
Clare CoCo have committed to work with Kilfenora
Development on a strategic plan for the village and improvements in signage,
facilities and village appearance. Our intention is also to influence emerging Fáilte
Ireland plans for promoting and enhancing tourism in the Burren area.
The action group has started working on grants
being offered by Clare CoCo under the Community Support Scheme 2021, such as
for improving public amenities and village appearance, community wifi,
community development and physical activities.
We have also reached agreement with the Church
of Ireland that the Cathedral will be re-opened for community use, visitors,
the Timeline exhibition and activities such as concerts. We are facilitating a
grant application by the CoI for some repair work to ensure it is fit for
visitors. The Burren Centre plans to offer village tours in the tourist season,
as part of publicising Kilfenora’s historic features, especially the Cathedral,
Crosses and Holy Well.
We will communicate and consult on this work as it
progresses, especially as clear project proposals get developed, in which we
intend to involve community members directly. (Note our email address – )
In the meantime, if you have any queries, do talk to any
member of the action group.
As we find ourselves in a challenging time, we have put together our own road map for the future of the Burren Centre. Given our current financial circumstances it is vital we steer the Burren Centre in a new direction as outlined in our survival plan below. We are keen to engage with all shareholders and our wider community as much as possible and welcome any suggestions you may have for the future viability and success of this important community amenity and visitor attraction.
We have also attached shareholder and share transfer application forms should you need.
All Shareholders of the Burren Centre Co-operative Society
(Comhar Conradh na Boirne) are invited to attend a Special General Meeting at
the Centre on Friday 1 November at 8pm.
The meeting was requested by over 20 shareholders, following
proceedings at the AGM on 13 September, to discuss the size and composition of
the Committee, and to allow members of the Society to decide on these matters.
Given the importance of the Burren Centre to the economic
future of the Burren and of Kilfenora, Shareholders are encouraged to
participate in this meeting.
Bike repairs are on offer in Kilfenora once again, courtesy of E-Whizz bikes located at the Burren Hub shop in Kilfenora Square.
At present, repairs are on Saturdays only, but may also take
place on Wednesdays during the main summer period. (Call 065 70 88846, as opening
hours vary during the week.)
Dumping of unwanted bikes is a long-standing problem. Now, a recycling scheme has been started with the support of Clare County Council’s Greener Clare programme. (This has its own Facebook page here.)
As part of this scheme, the
Burren Hub in Kilfenora will undertake any brake related repairs free of charge,
and can provide recycled spare parts for free. Free advice on maintaining your
bike is also available.
If your bike is beyond repair
or if you wish to donate any old bikes, the Burren Hub will take them off you
for recycling – bring them to the shop or call to arrange collection.
Note that the Burren Hub currently has a bicycle that was dumped some months ago in ‘Hogan’s Field’ – between O’Gormans shop and the Burren Centre. This will be sent for re-cycling unless an owner is identified. See photo below.
The Burren Centre, Kilfenora, is the location for weekly sessions where older people can get to grips with the technology tools that increasingly dominate modern life – smart phones, PCs (personal computers) and tablets.
Every Friday morning (10-11am), Lisdoonvarna Secondary School Transition year students are sharing their knowledge of technology with the older generation of Kilfenora and North Clare, in the relaxed atmosphere of the Burren Centre Tea rooms.
The students help to de-mystify and build confidence in using these tools,or just to make better use of them.
Eve McMahon, Aine Brennan, Latisha Carr, Laura Griffey, Gearoid Howley, Cliona Stout, Ruth Costello and Harry Wainwright are the students involved.
The sessions are proving very popular and are continuing until Friday 14 December.
For further information and to book a place, please phone The Burren Centre at 065 7088030.
Fáilte Ireland are proposing to create a ‘Burren Drive’ – a tourist driving route linked, but separate to, the Wild Atlantic Way.
A public meeting is being staged to consult the North Clare community about this on Tuesday 13 November at 7pm in the Burren Centre. (A duplicate meeting is being held in the Wild Atlantic Lodge on Wednesday in Ballyvaughan.)
Anyone is welcome, although Fáilte Ireland would appreciate being told if you are coming by sending an email to
The meeting will be attended by Hogarths – a landscape architect consultancy hired by Fáilte Ireland to help design the ‘Drive experience’. In their words, they wish to be able to tell a story “that will make a drive through the Burren come alive for visitors and increase benefits to local people by encouraging responsible engagement with this unique place”.
Hogarths are seeking advice from the community about what those who may use the drive – whether tourists or locals – might need and expect.
What will interest and intrigue them?
What is essential or valuable for them to know about the environment, history and folklore of the Burren?
What information and pictures do we have in the community that could be used to tell this story? (Please bring anything along you may feel will be useful.)
Members of the Community may also need to advise Fáilte Ireland and its consultants of things NOT to do if designing a tourist drive through the Burren.
This meeting is connected to the consultation Fáilte Ireland undertook last year in Kilfenora and elsewhere about extending the marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way inland.
An important question for the Kilfenora Community is how WE should communicate about our village to attract the kind of visitors that we want – ideally people who will stop and stay and spend money, rather than pass through briefly in large coaches (typically on their way to the Cliffs).
Come and make your views heard – we don’t often get consulted about significant tourism initiatives that affect our daily lives!
Some useful facts
Since the inauguration of the Wild Atlantic Way, Clare’s performance in terms of revenue per visitor to Co Clare has actually declined as has its position in comparison with the other counties on the Way – Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Donegal. The numbers of visitors is increasing but revenue is not – particularly in respect of foreign visitors, ie the ones most likely to use the proposed Burren Way. The figures below are the latest available from official sources.
Clare had the lowest spend per overseas visitor (€211) in 2017, down 5 % from 2016. By comparison the figure for Cork in 2017 was €393, Limerick €403 – and Galway’s income increased 100% to €352. This is despite a 20% increase in Clare’s overseas visitor numbers.
As regards domestic visitors (who on average spend more than overseas tourists), Clare fell from first place to third (2017 vs 2016), with a drop of 18% in revenue to €238 per head. Numbers of visitors fell by 14%. Again, this compares badly with the other coastal counties.
Why is Clare doing so poorly, given all the wonderful tourism features the county possesses? Is this a failure in marketing of Co Clare? Why in particular are overseas visitor numbers increasing fast and revenue declining just as fast?
The answer in part is obvious to anyone living in North Clare. As Fáilte Ireland knows, there has been a vast surge in coach traffic to the Cliffs of Moher, deriving from Dublin and Galway. No surprise then that the income per head in Galway has rocketed. Possibly the actual decline in domestic visitors has something to do with being put off by this traffic increase – although that is speculative as no analysis has yet been undertaken by Clare Council or Fáilte Ireland.
Thus the challenge for the proposed Burren Drive is this – will it either help or make worse the tourism revenue figures for Co Clare? Will this just mean more people staying and spending in Galway, Limerick and Kerry having driven through the Burren on a day trip? How can Clare Co Council and Fáilte Ireland genuinely help local communities reverse the clear downward trend?
As explained at an emergency community meeting in Kilfenora Hall on Tuesday evening (25 September), a petition and outline business plan is to be submitted to An Post by Friday (28 September). PLEASE sign the petition – the more community members sign, the more likely An Post will agree to continuation of the service. The deadline for signatures is 2pm on Thursday.
Forms can be found in O’Gormans and Howleys shops and in the village Post Office.
All individuals in families are urged to contribute their names and signatures – including children (bearing in mind that this issue is about their future too).
A crucial development is that The Burren Centre has volunteered to provide a space for a new post office counter. This has made it possible to submit an appeal to An Post.
If Kilfenora is successful in retaining a Post Office – which of course is vital for many community members and businesses over a wide area of North Clare – it is important that people understand and use the very wide range of services that the Post Office provides , including all the bill paying, social welfare and banking facilities (and soon mortgages). It is clear that many people have underappreciated this in the past. Hopefully Kilfenora (and its surrounding areas) will succeed in retaining a facility that is essential for the future economic health of the Burren communities.
A meeting in Kilfenora community hall is being convened on Friday 7 of September at 8pm. This will discuss issues raised on last Friday night (31st August) regarding the future of Kilfenora Post Office.
There will be no public representatives invited to this meeting. All members of the community are asked to attend as this is an issue of vital importance to the village.
The recent meeting on Friday 31st August 2018 saw possibly the largest collection of Clare political representatives ever to visit Kilfenora at one time.
Tom O’Callaghan from the independent postmasters’ group and Gerry Duddy of the Irish Public Banking Forum were listed speakers. However, most of the evening was taken up by contributions from three Clare TDs – Pat Breen, Dr. Michael Harty and Timmy Dooley – followed by an array of councillors.
The meeting concluded with the proposal of a local working group to examine what might be done to retain postal services in Kilfenora.
Kilfenora Post Office
The community gathers
Dr Harty was among 3 of Clare’s TD’s addressing the meeting
Ennistymon Garda are hosting a Rural Information meeting in Vaughans Barn on Thursday 30 November at 8pm.
This is a follow up to the similar meeting held two years previously. These topics will be addressed.
Farm safety and accident prevention (‘Embrace’)
Safeguarding vulnerable adults (HSE)
Public Service Vehicle (PSV) inspection
Citizen information (legal and other aspects)
There will be stalls with useful information, and in the light of the importance of heart disease prevention, public health nurses will offer quick and easy blood pressure tests.
There will also be spot prizes and a cupan tae!