A MID Cork village that had suffered the ravages of recession is this week celebrating the allocation of funding of over €400,000 for a major tourism initiative.
Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association this week received word that it is to receive €410,873 in funding from the Department of Environment towards a new €547,831 museum and cultural centre in the village.
The new two storey building will replace the existing museum, and will have seating for 90 people, audio-visual facilities, a café and a state of the art museum. The association also plans to make use of the village's location in the heart of "War of Independence Country" by developing tourism trails through areas of historic significance.
The village has been in decline in recent times, with the local post office, pubs and HSE dispensary all closing over during the recession. Now, however, Noel Howard, chairman of the Kilmurry Historical & Archaeological Association aims to ensure the new museum is a thriving hub in the heart of the village.
"For four to five years we have been working extremely hard towards building a museum and cultural centre in Kilmurray village. We have had our application with the West Cork Development Partnership, who have been very helpful, and there was a huge amount of effort from our building committee and general committee," Mr Howard said.
The chairman explained that the existing museum has remained in place despite the challenges posed in recent times.
"Kilmurry, like a lot of rural villages, has been decimated over the last few years. The Post Office closed, the two pubs and several shops. Recently the HSE closed the local dispensary and the village was at risk of losing its role as a focal point for the area," he said.
"In 1965 the first museum opened and the founders' ancestors, myself included, continue to run it to this day. We have unique artefacts including a "Crosslet Tender" wheel burned at the Kilmichael ambush which was donated to us by General Tom Barry along with a briefcase and an ID from the tender. The museum is called the Terence MacSwiney Memorial Museum and his family lived in the building for a while having been evicted from a local farm.
The funding has been welcomed by local politicians Michael Creed TD (FG), Cllr Martin Coughalan (Lab) and Cllr Aindrias Moynihan (FF).