Community shop and café is firmly rooted in Limerick village

Saoirse Higgins

Reporter:

Saoirse Higgins

Email:

saoirse.higgins@limerickleader.ie

Community shop and café is firmly rooted in Limerick village

Pictured at Roots Shop and Cafe are Leila Long (Volunteer), Sheila Conroy (Assistant Manager), Hannah McCarthy (Volunteer), Siobhan O'Gorman (Manager)

IN THE West Limerick village of Kilmeedy, a community development group has created a friendly “social hub” for its residents.

Kilmeedy is a small village near Newcastle West which, after the absence of a local shop for ten years, has built its own community shop and café called Roots.

Roots Community Shop and Café has had a long journey to where it is now and gladly opened its doors in December 2020.

Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan recently endorsed the shop and cafe when saying in a tweet, “this is a real example of community development from the ground up.”

Roots has been a hit with the local residents. “It’s brought life to the village again,” explained manager Siobhán O’Gorman

"A committee member of the Kilmeedy Community Development group, Siobhan Heaney, says that the shop was badly needed in the community. “A lot of people in rural areas suffer from social isolation. This shop and cafe is a social hub for the village and the environment around it. It’s an essential service, particularly for the elderly.. While we are currently operating under Level 5 restrictions, the social element will come into its own when restrictions are relaxed.”

The shop and café provide a range of products for their customers but they make a special effort to provide local produce when they can. They supply vegetables from Kilmeedy Homegrown, another Kilmeedy Community Development project, and other produce from around the area and Munster itself.

They are always on the lookout for more local produce, so if you would like your product to make a feature in the store be sure to get in contact with them!

Hot food, from sandwiches to soup is also provided for locals to take home with them.

This project has been in the tracks for a while and Siobhan Heaney explained how it came about. “We were graciously donated the building on a 10-year lease by the Geary family, who run the John Deere tractor dealership in the village. We then applied for LEADER funding to renovate the building.”

Their LEADER funding was administered by West Limerick Resources Siobhan explained.

For the second stage of construction, they applied for more funding from different sources such as the Department of Rural Affairs, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and even some money from the JP McManus Benevolent fund.

This success story has resonated with community groups across Ireland, who often call Kilmeedy for advice. “people are travelling from within the Limerick area to see what we’re doing and we look forward to welcoming more from further afield once restrictions are lifted,” Ms Heaney remarked.

Don’t be afraid to give Roots Shop and Café a visit and if you would like to keep up to date on their story you can follow them on Instagram.