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Eyes opened by West Clare town

THEY always envisaged ending up in a rural idyll, gazing contentedly across green fields and at big, empty skies. Instead, Pádraig and Julie Neylon, along with their now 19-month-old daughter Theola, pitched up in a near 200-year-old, six-bedroom house in Kilrush. Both are self-employed and Pádraig’s office is what was once the coal house in Kilrush House, which is located in Merchant’s Quay at the bottom of Frances Street. They sense that their decision to settle in Kilrush reflects a growing trend, where young families are opting to live in smaller towns, where the cost of living is manageable and the quality of life less hectic. For decades, towns like Kilrush have lost generations of young people, who either emigrated or settled elsewhere in Ireland, primarily for work-related reasons. Other friends and acquaintances are either living in, or considering moving to, the town. “I always had it in the head to move back home to Kilmurry McMahon, build a house …

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