Cllr Clifford Kelly in his hometown of Kingscourt.

A ‘thriving’ town with more in the pipeline...

Living on Kingscourt’s Main Street for the past 64 years, Cllr Clifford Kelly is proud of how the town in which he was “born and reared” has developed.

One aspect of the town that he is most proud of is the opening of the second level school in 2016, which is now educating over 800 students and looking at doubling in size again.

Before breaking for summer, the school had been using the local community centre for classrooms showing the great demand for expansion - a project, which Cllr Kelly said is at a “very advanced stage".

“I fought for over forty years for it,” he declared proudly.

“It will be the beginning of next year before any works start [on the new extension],” added the local Fianna Fáil representative.

The Kingscourt man is looking forward to seeing the hustle and bustle of the school months again when parents from neighbouring communities will come to drop and collect children from school, bringing more footfall into the area.

As Cllr Kelly speaks in Church Street Café, the sound of roaring cattle and auctioneers from the neighbouring mart cuts over his words. The café is packed with farmers from all over County Cavan who have come to buy and sell, and Cllr Kelly is delighted to see them.

Another magnet drawing people to the town is the presence of Dún an Rí forest park. The stunning woodland area is set to receive a new playground at a cost of €500,000, work on which will commence later this year.

“It’s great, it does attract huge numbers of people,” Cllr Kelly enthused of the local tourism offering.

He also hopes to see a new Greenway installed in the town in the next six months, which will be linked to Dun an Rí.

In conjunction with Coillte, Cavan County Council has launched a 10-year plan to see “further development” of the forest park. An advisory group will be appointed later this year to oversee the project.

Works on the town in the coming months and year will be widespread with a new digital hub coming to the former Bank of Ireland building and a library coming to the former National Irish Bank building. Also, coming to the town is the much-wanted, off-street carpark in Shackleton's yard in the middle of the town. These works are expected to commence next year.

Following a fire that claimed the town’s enterprise centre in October of last year, Cllr Kelly hopes to see this rebuilt and those who had their businesses there offered their spaces back. Planning permission has also been granted to install a new unit “as well as putting back what was there", he confirmed.

“That will be a great benefit to the commercial life of the town,” he said of the projects.

A Johnny Cash tribute act will even be coming to the town on October 7, seeing and entirely new sound system fitted in the community centre. Sixty years ago, the country singer-songwriter commenced his Irish tour in the former Granada Ballroom, which was situated in the town.

November will bring the annual trade fair which Clifford said is always a success, with over 5,000 people attending last year.

Cllr Kelly is proud of Kingscourt’s economic success with mult-inational companies such as Kingspan and local businesses combining to make the town the thriving hub it is - providing employment locally and putting Kingscourt on the map.

“There’s lots happening,” said a proud Cllr Kelly.

“Kingscourt is a very progressive and thriving town.”