Barry Carson and Anna May Donegan from KCC.

Shining the hidden gem

“There’s so many good things coming to Killeshandra,” volunteers a lady as she exits the town’s Resource Centre.“We’re a hidden gem,” she adds as she takes her leave.

This unintroduced lady is eager for Killeshandra to present its best side to the Cavan public; it’s had so many knocks to contend with in recent years, but there are stirrings the town is once more finding its feet.

New chair of Killeshandra Community Council, Barry Carson agrees with the lady: “Things are happening, it’s nothing major just yet but things are moving in the right direction.”

The imminent opening of a new health centre, Fika33 café’s opening, the successful Camino, the return of the festival, the fab new murals funded by Cavan Arts Office... The office in which we are chatting too is an indicator of the upturn in fortunes.

KCC used to occupy a pokey upstairs office. “We’ve moved our KCC office downstairs – we were hidden away,” says Barry, who also runs Tyre Care.

Thanks to Pobal funding worth €25,000 the ground floor office facing Main St will be divided to provide space for KCC on one side, and a meeting room in the other.

“This room we’re in will become a local meeting place, a visitor centre, tourist information and a community library.

“A local group has been pushing hard for a library. We have books available from the county library to start it, but as yet we haven’t had a place to put it, so when this Community Centre Investment Fund came up we thought we’d use this place.”

The town’s location 15 miles from the county library, and with a good Local Link service, informs the decision to have a modest sized community library, run by volunteers.

Barry says that the office’s central location makes it ideal as a tourism information hub.

“We have tourists coming from CABU drawn through the cycle track which is now on the map. They might stop have a coffee at Fika, they come down have their photo with the mural and then they might drop in and get some tourist information.

“There’s a few things we want to achieve out of this building. Then we are looking to see what we do with the back of the building – whether we go for the next round of funding with a complete redevelopment for the rest of the building.”

Social Services Daycare meets once a week, and an office space is rented, but much of the rest of it sits idle.

“There are a few positive things happening,” Barry concludes, “and we’re trying to push on with those, and encourage other people to push on with any projects they might have been considering.”

If they can push on, the gem that is Killeshandra may not be so hidden for long.