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 Kilbehenny

‘Gateway to the Galtees’

 

In the mid 1970’s after much discussion and debate, a decision was made to to build a Community Centre in Kilbehenny.

The main objective was to improve the quality of life for the locals and for those living in the surrounding areas.

A site was donated by the Church of Ireland and building began in 1975.  The new community centre was built almost entirely on voluntary labour.  The cost of the project was £11,500 a very sizable sum for such a small community.   

The committee which worked so hard to bring the project to fruition deserve great credit for the enterprise and understanding of the needs of the community.   The hall was modern and up to date and consisted of a main hall with a beautiful maple floor and a good sized stage.   There was also two spacious meeting rooms, a kitchen, cloakrooms and toilets.

On 23rd March 1976 Kilbehenny Community Centre was officially opened by the then well known Limerick hurling star Pat Hartigan, with entertainer Séan Ó Sé acting as compere.

Caroline Conroy was a very young child when the community centre was opened.   She recalls :

“Teenage life was sheer freedom in the 70’s.   We all went to the Foróige Club on Friday nights.  We did what we liked and were trusted to behave.   Many a romance started here, for example Siobhán Kelly and Mossy O’Mahony.   

A marquee was attached to the side of the community centre at festival time.   Brush Shields  made an appearance, and many famous television stars also graced us with their presence: Mike Murphy and Aonghus McAnally and of course Miley  from Glenroe.  

 

 

 

 

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing the new site, kindly donated by Noel Bradfield

Some members of the 1975 committee with Carmel Fox Ballyhoura Development    

21st August 2011

Kilbehenny Community Centre before Extension

And the work begins!

As the years rolled by, Kilbehenny Community Centre became in need of renovation,.  It had a galvanised roof, which,, when it rained, one couldn’t hear your ears!   It was cold and draughty and needed to become a modern building, to feed the needs of the community and surroounding areas.

The following detailed outline of planning and completion is by Pat Dalton.

In 2006 ithe plan to refurbish and extend our community centre was conceived.  The first step was to apply for chadritable status for our company.  This was to allow us to accrue fumding for our plan.  We then drew up a social -economic plan mentored by Ballyhoura Development who organised many meetings with ourcommunity.  

All households in the area were identified and a profile of the inhabitants documented.  This was completed in 2007 and will have application long into the future.  

New Ground Planning, Kilbehenny Town Planners and architects were appoointed in 2009 in conjunction with Ballhhoura Development.   Many focus groups were set up and numerous late night meetings took place with planners from Limerick and Cork County Councils.

Noel Bradfield very generously donated a site for the proposed extension - a huge gesture and so much appreciated by everyone.

Final plans were drawn up and planning permission was granted in 2010.   Leader funding was apprpved by Ballyhoura Develoopment Ltd (85%) and South Tipperary (15%).   A contractor was appointed (John Ronan Ltd, Charleville) and work commenced in 2011.

We are proud to say the project was completed within budget in 2014.

 

 

Kilbehenny Building Committee decided to apply for help with regard to building a stage and improving acoustics in the hall. The application was made through Ballyhoura Development Ltd.  Fortunately they were chosen from a long list of applicants to take part in the Small Town Studio Project which was awarded funding through Limerick City of Culture.  

 

The successful application was due in no small way to the fantastic community spirit in Kilbehenny, the unique cultural identity which the village holds, and the dedication and commitment of the committee.  A very astute eye has been kept on spending all the way through, and this was  a very important aspect of the application process

 

The brainchild of Gerard Walsh and Eleanor Moloney, Small Town Studio project  involved students setting up a design studio within a community, thus helping them develop their own skills by working on real projects.

The work of those students is constantly being admired, having created beautiful artwork behind which lie the acoustics.

 

The new building is debt free - a fantastic tribute to all who continue to work voluntarily for the good of the community.           

 

See Gallery Hall Extension

 

 

Avondhu Advertisement for the official opening of Kilbehenny Community Centre, 23rd March 1976.

Small Town Studio committee

Small Town Studio students

See Gallery for photos of work carried out