THE heartbeat of Ballynacally is strong, thanks to the recent opening, in the scenic village, of a new community café.
The Estuary Way Café, which has to-date been catering for socially distanced chats, pop-up music sessions and high quality food and beverages, is credited with brining a new vibrancy to the village.
“It’s been just amazing, everyone is delighted and the feedback we’re been getting is so positive,” said Dorothy Madden, Secretary of the Ballynacally Development Association.
The project dates back to 2018 and, after securing funding from sources including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and Leader, through Clare Local Development Company (CLDC), opened in July. “There has been a massive amount of work by everyone in the development association, with support coming from right across the community of Ballynacally,” Dorothy said. “Deirdre Mulpeter who leads the team at the café is doing a great job and there are two full-time and at least three part-time staff there, so that in itself has given a boost to the village.”
The venue is right in the heart of the village, next to the community playground, and the two facilities have been working in tandem over the summer. “The location is ideal, because people can come in for a cuppa while the kids are kept active,” Dorothy noted. “What has really been lovely is the people who have been able to reconnect. I’d say people have gotten to meet up who might not have seen each other for years, especially the older people. That’s just lovely.”
The venue, which hasn’t yet been able to have an official opening because of Covid-19 restrictions, is also serving as a space for local artists to exhibit there work and an outlet for local food producers to sell their wares.
“Whenever the restrictions are eventually lifted, we will be able to expand the capacity of the café,” said Dorothy. “We have outdoor seating too, so that has really helped us. Subject to the public health guidelines, we would be looking to have an open evening, if and when it’s safe to do that.”
The community café has been a beacon of hope for the village in difficult times and it is something that is integral to the future development of Ballynacally.
“We are working hard to keep the village going,” said Dorothy. “Things tend to ebb and flow. We’re very optimistic about things like developing a digital hub in the local hall. We’re in a great location, because we’re on the Shannon Estuary Way and we’re only 20 minutes from Ennis.”
Estuary Way Community Café is currently open Wednesdays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm.