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Siobhán O’Reilly, Administrative Officer, Clare County Council; Breda McNamara, Chairperson, Cnoc na Gaoithe Development Committee; Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD; Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council; Bernadette Haugh, A/Senior Executive Officer, Clare County Council; and Frank Whelan, Regional Officer, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Huge local effort praised as Cnoc na Gaoithe officially opened

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A NEW performance space and auditorium at Cnoc na Gaoithe in Tulla has been officially opened by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys.

The opening of the multi-functional performance space and auditorium, at the Tulla Comhaltas Cultural Centre marks the culmination of huge local efforts to redevelop a landmark site in the town centre.

The regeneration project restored the old convent building and developed the facility that will further enhance and support the towns rich music and cultural heritage. The project received €900,000 in funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

The centre is situated in the heartland of East Clare, on the famous Hill of Tulla, an area renowned for traditional Irish music, song, and dance.

The name Cnoc na Gaoithetranslates in English as the Windswept Hill, made famous by the late Kerry man Bryan MacMahon in his song Lament for Tommy Dalyin praise of the great Tulla and Clare goalkeeper, Dr Tommy Daly. The Sisters of Mercy donated the Tulla Convent and Primary School buildings to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in October 2011. These buildings were developed into the Cultural Centre, known as Cnoc na Gaoithe.

The latest project has seen the construction of a state-of-the-art multi-functional performance space and auditorium in the former school building.

This is used by the community as a performance venue for concerts, dramatic productions, musicals and other events with seating for 150 patrons; a dance hall for céilís, dance functions and other entertainment purposes for the community; a venue to teach set dancing, Irish dancing and other types of dance to locals and visiting groups; a sports venue for indoor sports, such as football, soft ball and badminton; and a venue for keep fit activities.

Externally, the overall proposal also allowed for the restoration of an old orchard garden on site, together with other landscaping, parking facilities and new entrances.

Dilapidated out-buildings and other redundant matter on site were also removed. In all, the works significantly enhance the public realm of the site which sits in a central part of the town.

Welcoming Minister Humphreys to Tulla, Councillor Tony OBrien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said he was delighted to showcase the wonderful project.

“This current project is funded through the Departments Rural Regeneration and Development Fund together with match funding from Tomar Trust, which supported the construction of a state-of-the-art multifunctional auditorium in the former school building,” he said.

“This is a fantastic performance venue for concerts, dramatic productions, musicals and more, with seating for 150 patrons.”

Chairperson of the Cnoc na Gaoithe Development Committee Breda McNamara said the facility will meet the demands of the local community.

We are so delighted and grateful to the Department of Rural and Community Development for their support,” she said.

“The grant of €900,000, along with match funding from Tomar Trust, completed the restoration of all buildings and grounds of the former Convent of Mercy.

“We could not have achieved this without the ongoing support of the Minister who has followed our progress every step of the way. Huge thanks to Clare County Council, Rural and Community Department, Rural Development Directorate staff who partnered with us on this application, we could not have achieved this outcome without your support. Míle buíochas.”

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