Contractors working for Clare County Council will be
carrying out road works in July on the approach to Kilfenora from Lisdoonvarna
From 12th July 2021 to 16th July 2021 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m, re-surfacing work will start near the junction with the L5290 at Ballykeel North progressing down part of the hill descending towards Kilfenora – see the red section on the map below.
Probably on Wednesday, re-surfacing will also commence on the section of the R476 exiting from Kilfenora (shown in orange on the map), with the intention of concluding by Friday evening.
The Council state that local
access will be maintained for residents within the site at all times.
The recommended diversion route for
general traffic is to use the N67 (Lisdoonvarna to Ennistymon) and then the
R481 towards Kilfenora.
A grant of €29,950 has been made by the Department of
Housing, Local Government and Heritage for a conservation study of Kilfenora
Cathedral. The purpose is to define necessary restoration works, and also to
identify ways to develop and widen public access to the Cathedral for heritage,
cultural and community use.
This is one of 139 grants totalling €4m announced by
Minister Malcolm Noonan, TD on 16 June.
The grant application was made by Rev Kevin O’Brien, with the help of Kilfenora Development and Clare Co Council. The work will be carried out by specialist conservation architects Paul Arnold and Associates.
Kilfenora Cathedral has been closed for use for several
years, and has suffered some deterioration internally and externally. It is sad
that the fine interior of this important national monument, a community
resource for over 830 years, has been shut to visitors and the community. However
that should change.
It was recommended to Kilfenora Development and the Church
of Ireland that a professional study is a necessary precursor to getting a
further grant for the restoration work.
In addition the study will examine ways for the Cathedral to
be used by the village of Kilfenora, and how enough income can be generated to
pay for its upkeep. The intention is to maintain the building as a place of
worship, but also to improve its usability for various community and tourism
Rev Kevin O’Brien is keen for example that It can be used again as a concert venue – as it has been during the Kilfenora Trad Fest – and as a showcase for local talent and young musicians. “In the absence of a local CoI congregation, it is really for the Kilfenora community to embrace this unique building and make best use of it.”
Both to oversee the project and manage the Cathedral in future, a steering group – and eventually perhaps a board of trustees – will need to be formed by the various stakeholders, including our community of course, within the next few months.
In the meantime, the Burren Centre plans to start guided tours of the village for visitors – with the Cathedral, celtic crosses and Holy Well as core attractions – offering a rewarding and relaxed experience for those escaping from the overcrowding at the coast and the Cliffs.
In due course, once repair works have eventually been done, it
is hoped that it will be possible to re-open the Cathedral interior on a
For the first
time in many years, a concerted effort is being made to improve our village’s
appearance, and to enter the Tidy Towns competition – for which we need to be
ready by 2 July.
Tidy Towns team is calling on members of the community to help, and is launching
an ‘Adopt a Flower Bed’ initiative. 🌷🌼
Joe Garrihy is kindly sponsoring the purchase of plants – thanks Joe! 🙏 – but community help is needed to weed and prepare 7 flower beds, 4 on the
approach road from Ennis/Corofin and three on the Lisdoonvarna Road.
household has already adopted beds 1 and 2 – see pictures below – but please
bid to help with the rest! Call Dena on 087 761 8318 to choose your bed(s)
and for any more information.
is just weeding and preparing the bed for planting any time before Thursday 24
June (after which the Team will organise planting). Please take a before-and-after picture of the
flower bed you adopted and post that on the Kilfenora Online or Tidy Towns facebook
page, or email it to .
Just so you know, apart from rescuing these flower beds, the intention is to install planters in Kilfenora Square and at Inchovea Church, and put plants in the bed on the Ennistymon approach road. Flower beds are already in place at the West entrance to the Cathedral.
Keep up to
date with work being done by Kilfenora Development and the tidy towns team by
visiting this website, and on facebook and Instagram (@likfenora_tidy_towns).
A new identification signing system for the Burren villages is proposed by Clare County Council. Kilfenora residents are being invited to choose one of 3 options, and express their views.
Why new signs?
As part of efforts to retain the prized ‘Geopark’ status for
the Burren, the Council is responding to UNESCO’s request for improvements to
be made to signage.
It is proposed that the same style of signage would be placed on the entry roads to all the Burren villages – Kilfenora, Ballyvaughan, Boston, Carron, Corofin, Doolin, Fanore, Lisdoonvarna, New Quay, Ruan and Tubber
At present we have this sign on three of our entrance roads (from Ennis, Noughaval and Ennistymon).
The re-designed nameboards
The Council is asking us to choose one of 3 alternative re-designs. The new designs would only allow one description of the village on it, eg ‘Home of céilí music’ OR ‘City of the Crosses’ in the case of Kilfenora. The indication of what services are available in the village would use symbols. The new nameboards are 2.3×1.0 m and made of metal.
One of the issues is visibility of the information. Depending on where the signs are placed, if drivers pass them at speed they are unlikely to take in much information.
1 Which of
the three alternatives would you choose?
description would you suggest we choose for Kilfenora?
(a) “City of the
(b) “Home of céilí music”
Note: ‘Gateway to the Burren’ (or similar) will not be allowed
as several villages could claim this.
sign is intended to replace the existing sign.
(a) Do we want
to keep the existing signs and ask for the new signs to be placed nearer the
(b) Or are you
happy that the new signs will replace the old?
Finally if you have any other views on the design, please let Kilfenora Development know.
As part of regular discussions between Kilfenora Development
and Clare County Council, the Council suggested marking out parking bays in
Kilfenora Square. The Council Engineers have made some initial suggestions that
pose a few practical issues – see their draft plan below – and so Kilfenora
Development is asking for community views about what would be sensible.
Elements to be considered include
creating marked car parking bays along on the
north side of the Square (Lisdoonvarna side) – would these help parking, make the
Square look ‘organised’?
creating marked out spaces for the habitual
parking areas of Bus Eireann on each side of the Square AND, longer term,
considering the possible installation of bus stop signs and bus shelters
creating marked spaces for up to 2 buses or
delivery trucks (middle square area, away from parking adjacent to pavements)
when buses stop for the Burren Centre, they
typically park by the weighstation; is that OK, and should there be marked bus
what other considerations should be allowed for?
If you have views on these choices, or feel that the current
‘free-for-all’ unregulated parking should continue, please send an email
expressing your views to
or drop a note into O’Gormans shop marked for the attention of Kilfenora
Development. The closing date for submission of views is Friday 4 June.
You can print off a blank map to draw your suggestions on if you wish. Use the link below to download a document and return it via O’Gormans or online to
In December 2020 the creation of a community group
‘Kilfenora Development’ was announced, identifying a number of volunteers who
had formed a steering group, representing various aspects of the Kilfenora
Since then, due to Covid pandemic restrictions and very slender
resources, it has been difficult to undertake any wide involvement and
communication, although there have been some targeted consultations in the
village on particular topics.
However, on behalf of the village, members of the Steering
Group have engaged with Clare County Council (CCC) on topics known to be of
concern to the community, and also where possible making grant applications.
Here’s just some of what’s been happening.
1 Tidy Towns team – this has been re-started and began work with a very successful clean-up on roads surrounding the village, addressing the excessive littering by antisocial motorists and rubbish dumper. A second clean-up took place this Saturday inside the village, eg weeding in the Square and restoring the cathedral entrance flower bed. More activities are being considered, eg to enhance the Holy Well area, and you will hear more from the team shortly.
Square – ways to improve the appearance and amenities in the Square have
been much discussed. For example in January a Council grant was sought to
upgrade flower beds and install flower planters. (Unfortunately an answer is
only going to be given in mid-June). An attempt is being made to get the
bicycle racks moved to a better location and a request has been made for an
E-car charging point. A community consultation on car parking issues will
shortly be announced.
upgrading – the Hall Committee is shortly starting Phase 1 of an
improvement process, including painting and insulation work. A grant for Phase
2 is being sought, to include improvements to the backstage stairs and creating
a better meeting room space upstairs for community use.
Cathedral – in collaboration with the Church of Ireland and CCC, a grant
application has been submitted for a professional study to define necessary
repairs and also to identify uses and thence sources of revenue, so that the
Cathedral can be both maintained and used by the community long-term. The
newish rector in Ennis (Rev Kevin O’Brien) is keen to see Clare’s CoI churches
used more, including for concerts and working with music teachers. (Note –
repair work by the Council to the graveyard wall is also being sought.)
signage – various improvements are under discussion. A consultation
on a new style of Burren village signs will shortly be launched.
improvements – repairs to the Lisdoonvarna road (approx 400 metres) and
Noughaval road (2km) are due to take place, probably in July. Kilfenora
Development has lobbyied to make the 3 L-road village entrances (from Doolin,
Lickeen and Noughaval) safer for walkers and cyclists, particularly by moving
80kph speed limit signs to beyond housing. While that has been denied, CCC has
ordered more warning signs to denote local walkers, and these are due to be
of Moher 2040 and Council’s tourism strategy – the Kilfenora Development
steering group is considering major proposals for investment that, if we do not
make representations and articulate what we want, will yield little benefit for
Kilfenora. It is intended to conduct a consultation in the community on the
Cliffs strategy in particular in coming weeks, as the outcome of that project
will have an effect that will last for years. At the same time Cllr Joe Garrihy has formed a
North Clare strategy group local community interests including KIlfenora Development
to collaborate on these kind of issues.
8 Burren Discovery Trail – by chance it was discovered that Failte Ireland is planning to install large ‘Caher doorway’ sculptures and display panels at 12 locations in Clare and Galway counties. An initial consultation in 2019 just about creating a ‘trail’ had a mixed reception, and there had been no discussion or information since. The intention is good – to try to attract visitors away from the Wild Atlantic Way to villages and attractions inland. However a rapid consultation with 20 Kilfenora community members involved in tourism identified major flaws with what was proposed, and some of these were corrected by Failte Ireland. There is no communication as yet when the installations will be made, but the Kilfenora one is due to be placed adjacent to the Burren Centre.
and walkways – some initial work has been undertaken to map out a range of
walking and cycling routes around Kilfenora, building on some preliminary work
undertaken with the Burren Geopark some years ago. This is intended to aid
wellbeing in the community, as well as providing some additional reason for
visitors to stay and sped in the area.
10 Improving Kilfenora’s website – a small
grant has been obtained from Clare County Council to improve this website. This
will contribute to the future promotion of Kilfenora and increasing the
village’s ‘digital presence’ – hopefully thereby helping to bring income into
the community. (The website and Kilfenora Online facebook page are maintained
by voluntary efforts.)
Despite Covid conditions, plenty of efforts are being made
to enhance what Kilfenora has to offer. To mention two other points, the
Council’s installation of a Digital Hub and a wi-fi service in the Square is
very welcome, as is the grant for modernisation of the Burren Centre (a tender
for contactors will shortly be issued).
Kilfenora Development is constantly scanning and checking
opportunities for grants and support for village enhancement. It is often not
easy to meet the particular requirements of the various schemes announced by
central and local government and other funding bodies, eg Failte Ireland.
However, thanks is due to certain Clare County Council
officials who are now engaging regularly with Kilfenora’s community group –
this has never happened before. In addition there has been active support and
interest shown in Kilfenora’s development by Councillors Joe Garrihy and Joe
Killeen in particular.
If you want to get in touch, please email or talk to any of
the Steering Group members.
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.