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300,000 The Target As Ambitious Community Projects Planned For Kilcormac

Thursday, 18 May 2017

300,000 The Target As Ambitious Community Projects Planned For Kilcormac thumbnailAt the launch of Kilcormac Killoughey's Community Development Project were Willie Coyne, Conor Feighery, Pat Howley, Eoin Gorman, Gemma Fletcher, Brendan Mahon, Chairperson, Deirdre Regan, Cllr. John Leahy and Denis Flynn

A MAJOR and ambitious programme of community developments have been planned for Kilcormac after the purchase of 9.5 acres of land by two of the area's most influential groups.

The land, behind Kilcormac/Killoughey GAA Club's headquarters on the Birr road out of Kilcormac, has been purchased by the Kilcormac/Killoughey Community Project, an umbrella group formed by the GAA Club and Kilcormac Development Association.

They have drawn up innovative plans for the site which they hope will serve and address the needs of both the GAA Club and the local community.

The centre piece and first phase of the development will be a new full sized playing pitch for Kilcormac/Killoughey GAA Club - it will alleviate the immense pressure on their current playing fields in Kilcormac and Mountbolus, which cater for 24 teams. The pitch will be owned by K/K GAA Club as it must be vested in the Association to access grants from them, while the GAA Club will also own and develop a new gym, not far behind their impressive club house, but the rest of the site will be owned by, run by and developed by the new K/K Community Project group.

They hope to provide practical recreational facilities for the area as well as celebrate the heritage of Kilcormac and promote it as a tourist destination.

The plans include a community walking track that will encompass the new facility and the town of Kilcormac, providing a safe and relaxing loop for walkers, joggers and runners; a 60 x 40 metre community astro turf pitch that will be available for use by all; and community recreational areas - the development of these will depend on local needs and money but may include purpose built buildings for use by groups such as scouts, a men's shed and others, along with car parking.

A central and extremely appealing part of the proposals are the plans to celebrate the heritage of Kilcormac and St Cormac - the town means Church of Cormac and is named after Cormac Ua Liathain, a native of Cork and a holy man who went to St Colmcille's Monastery in Durrow in the 550s, serving as its abbott for a spell and later lived in Kilcormac as a hermit after going on a number of voyages.

Cormac died in the early 7th century, allegedly after being attacked by wolves. He lived for some time in a tower, near the Silver River, which became known as Cill Chormaic (or Cormac's Church) and the committee now plan to reconstruct a 60 foot high tower, with an eight feet internal diameter, at the new site in the style in which it may have existed in the 500s and 600s. They will examine similar type structures from that era in Clonmacnoise and the tower will be built using voluntary labour and with donated materials: it will be one of the first round towers to be built in Ireland in over 1,000 years, will include a staircase inside, allowing people to go to the top of it, and display panels on site will explain the history and significance of it all.

They will also preserve and provide access to St Cormac's Well, which is not far from the proposed new entrance to the site - according to folklore, the well sprung up after Cormac bled as he was attacked by wolves and fled across country, and it is an important local landmark for private devotion - the well was enclosed in stone hood in 1959.

The development of the site will result in considerable financial outlay. The land was bought for €115,000 at a public auction, and was funded by loans from the GAA Club and Kilcormac Development Association.

The K/K Community Project Ltd hope to raise a minimum of €300,000 to fund the development, with the pitch provided first and other elements quickly coming on stream as finance is raised and grants are provided.

Their main fundraising venture is a patron's wall that will be located on the site and people will be asked to donate €5 a week by direct debit through Kilcormac Credit Union over a period of years or donate €260 a year for a place on the wall.

The Kilcormac/Killoughey Community Project is chaired by Brendan Mahon and includes: Vice chairman, John Leahy; Secretary, Denis Flynn; Assistant secretary, Eoin Gorman; Joint treasurers, Conor Feighery and Pat Howley; PRO, Gemma Fletcher; Committee, Donal Rigney, Paul Sweeney, Deirdre Regan, Willie Coyne.

The plans were launched in Kilcormac Community Centre on Monday night with Brendan Mahon issuing a passionate plea for support from the local community and other speakers outlining the benefits they will bring to the area.

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