CYCLISTS across the Mid-West have been invited on a picturesque tour through towns and villages in East Clare to help raise funds for a community group, writes Dan Danaher.
The seventh annual Tour Through East Clare cycle will take place on Saturday, September 25, to raise badly needed funds for Kilkishen Development Association (KDA).
All routes will start and finish at the Kilkishen Cultural Centre and cyclists can choose between 100km or 50km routes.
The 100km route travels via Sixmilebridge, Broadford, Bodyke, Scarriff and into Mountshannon for a food stop. From Mountshannon, the cycle continues to Scarriff, Feakle, Glendree and on to Tulla before returning to Kilkishen.
The 50km route travels via Sixmilebridge, Broadford, Bodyke and returns via Tulla.
The cycle is organised by the Kilkishen Development Association, and all funds raised from this cycle will support the Kilkishen Cultural Centre.
Secretary and treasurer of the Kilishen Cultural Centre, Olivia King recalled the former protestant church hosted exercise classes, yoga, pilates, zumba, set dancing, music classes, meetings and training courses prior to its closure due to Covid-19 restrictions.
A major upgrade of the cultural centre costing in the region of €550,000 was completed in the summer of 2015, which included a local contribution of about €150,000 following multiple fundraisers to match grants from other sources such as Clare LEADER, which provided more than €386,000. This has left an outstanding debt of €7,000.
While the cultural centre has been closed for the last 18 months, the KDA is hopeful it will be able to accommodate some activities like yoga and dance classes with limited numbers from September 20 when the next easing of Covid-19 restrictions is announced.
With enquiries already streaming in from local groups, the KDA has pencilled in September 20 as its provisional reopening date.
Like most community groups, the KDA hasn’t been able to launch major fundraising events, but still has to pay costs such as insurance and heating.
Ms King recalled earlier this year the KDA had to set up a GoFundMe page to carry out essential repairs costing in the region of €2,500 to the local playground.
“We got great support from the community for this appeal. It is very hard to have meetings because we have to operate on Zoom, which is not ideal for a community group.
“We had two meetings about the cycle in the cultural centre because we had a small group and could do social distancing. It makes such a difference to be able to meet in person.
“The Tour Through East Clare is one of our major fundraising events. We did it last year on a smaller scale. We are hoping to get back to more normal numbers this year.
“We are looking for entries from local cycling clubs and non-cycling club members. The cultural centre is a major focal point for the area. We are fund raising for the last ten years.”
Kilkishen Community Playground, which opened in 2010 is a very popular local amenity.
A safety inspection carried out earlier this year highlighted a significant risk on both the swings.
As a temporary measure, the committee removed the seats from these to avoid the risk of injury.
The swings were repaired as part of general maintenance work thanks to the GoFundMe page, which raised €2,525.
Online registration is required on www.eventbrite.ie Detailed route maps and other details about this year’s event will be published on the “Tour Through East Clare” Facebook page. All support would be greatly appreciated.