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Apartments and houses planned for Kilrush convent site

A PLANNING application has been lodged for a major residential development in Kilrush.

The application, which has been made by A & M Tubridy, seeks to convert the old Convent structure at Back Road, Kilrush. It seeks permission to upgrade the existing stairways, install two lifts and develop 30 apartments. It also seeks to demolish part of an existing outbuilding, reduce ground levels and construct 20 new semi detached dwellings.

The old convent is a protected structure and was used as a school for decades. Since education ceased there in the 1990s, it has been out of use.

According to the application, the gross floor space of the existing building is 3705 metres square and this would be extended by another 230m2.

Half of the apartments would be one beds and the other half two beds, while the houses would all be three beds. One hundred and seventeen parking spaces would be provided.

According to the documents submitted, the applicants are from Cooraclare and acquired the site back in 1996/97.

A document included in the file shows that permission was granted to convert the convent to a hotel with conference facilites and a leisure centre, more than 20 years ago. A proposal to convert it into apartments and a health centre was made in 2004, but was subsequently withdrawn.

Former county councillor Tom Prendeville said that the convent building in question has a long history. “It was a boarding school at one stage, the boarders would come in from different parishes, stay there for the duration of the term and go home for the holidays. When the boarding stopped it was still a secondary school for girls. I actually went there myself because they use to teach the boys up as far as Holy Communion and then go onto the Brothers. The school had a very good reputation, there were great results there over the years.”

It only closed because the convent amalgamated with two other local secondary schools serving the town of Kilrush. “In the 1990s the three schools amalgamated, the Convent of Mercy secondary school, the Christian Brothers and the Clare VEC school. They amalgamated and for a while they were waiting for a new building and moving between schools. Then the Kilrush Community School was built on the site of the old Christian Brothers school.”

He said he would be pleased to see development at the site, which has been vacant for so long. “It’s a fine structure, some people would have said they would have loved to see a hotel there and there were plans for it. It has been left derelict really for a long time and architecturally it is very pleasing to the eye. Something is being done, which is good. It’s something anyway, and it’s a great building.”

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.