Prayers answered: Former County Limerick church receives grant of €138k

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

The hard-working Kilfinane Community Projects CLG committee

The hard-working Kilfinane Community Projects CLG committee

KILFINANE Community Projects CLG said “Hallelujah” when they heard they were to receive a Leader grant, through Ballyhoura Development, of €138,362 for the former Church of Ireland.

The building has gone from strength to strength, and is now seen as one of the Ballyhoura area's most exciting and beautiful venues. Since 2009 fundraising has been ongoing and with the help of local people, local musicians, community groups, JP McManus, and Ballyhoura Development, the committee were in a position to finish phase 1 of a two-part project. The hard-working committee is made up of 12 and around 20 volunteers.

“The church has become Kilfinane’s cultural centre, and is now used by all sectors of the community, including Ballyhoura CCE, Ballyhoura Development, Community Council, Westend Drama Group, musicians, dance classes, choirs, parties and community gatherings.  It has been said it is one of the greatest assets that the town has and has been attracting a large number of national and international visitors through a series of exciting events in recent times.

“The church has been the lynchpin in bringing music and dance back to Kilfinane. Events such as the Revelations gigs have had some of the very best modern acts, playing to large audiences within the old walls,” said Katie Hennessy of Kilfinane Community Projects CLG.

Hup na Houra, a traditional music, song and dance show, run by Ballyhoura CCE has seen over 1,000 visitors coming through the doors during the summer of 2016. This event will take place again this summer. This would not have been possible had the venue not been open. 

The Leader grant will help facilitate the completion of phase 2 but it will be necessary for the committee to obtain a loan to fund the extra 15% required to commence the project. However, with the support of the community it is hoped that as much fundraising can be done as possible to ensure that any loan taken is short term to ensure the viability of the venture into the future. The works to be completed include installation of three phase electricity and additional heating; roof, gutters and drain work; pointing and plastering; works to entrance hall area; new flooring in main hall; lighting; painting and sound equipment.

“To carry out the works, the building will have to close down completely for a few months. We hope that this will not inconvenience our service users and that they will bear with us so that this project can be completed satisfactorily. We envisage that, when finished, it will be even more beneficial to the community, and easier to maintain,” said Ms Hennessy.