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Gabriella Hanrahan, chair of Quin Tidy Town. Photograph by John Kelly

Tearmann a sanctuary in Quin

A derelict unsafe inaccessible public space has been turned into a new multifunctional safe haven in front of Quin Friary, thanks to the hard work of the local tidy towns’ committee.
An Tearmann, or The Sanctuary, will be officially opened by Evanne Canny, the daughter of the late Lizzie Clune, a trojan tidy towns’ worker and Clare County Council road sweeper, James Doherty, while master of ceremonies for the event will be Clare Rose, Aisling O’Connor on Saturday, June 15, at 3pm.
Two years ago, Ms Clune switched on the Christmas Lights in the sanctuary and the group wanted to honour her memory by asking her daughter to do the official honours with Mr Doherty.
Refreshments and food will be supplied to the entire village after the official opening, which are sponsored by local businesses.
A showcase of local musicians, singers and storytellers organised by fiddle player, Maeve Donnelly will converge in the local hall, while the Ennis Brass Band will add a sense of occasion to the opening. Children’s entertainment will also be provided.
The project had to be selected by Clare County Council in 2022 to go forward for national funding to the Department of Rural and Community Development, which was supported by Councillors Alan O’Callaghan (FF) and Pat Burke (FG) and Deputy Joe Carey (FG). Fifteen organisations including Scoil na Mainistreach, the IFA, the GAA, Community Games, Active Retired, Quin Toddlers, and local businesses provided letters of support that accompanied the application.
No objections were expressed when the group conducted public consultation.
Quin Village Tidy Towns was notified in early January 2023 that their funding application was successful. Work began in August 2023 and it was completed in February 2024.
A development group was set up to draw up the tender and oversee the tendering including local builder, Brian O’Neill, quantity surveyor, Sean Riordan, plumber, Pat O’Brien, QVTT Pat O’Halloran, treasurer, Mike Reddan and chairperson, Gabriella Hanrahan chaired. The planting was designed by Rory O’Rory, QVTT.
Michael Creed, architect was the overall project designer, who provided great support to the group. Bear Landscaping won the tender for the project.
QVTT is a committee of 11 local people who are committed to keeping the village in the best possible condition including chairperson, Gabriella Hanrahan, secretary, Colette O’Brien and Ina Crowley, treasurer, Mike Reddan. Team leaders are Rory O’Connor, planting, Pauline Hoey, weeding, Liz Condron, sustainability and biodiversity, Pat O’Brien, watering, Dave Barry, approach roads, Dave Loughman and Colette Colleran.
Community development is the main objective of the group that has a WhatApp commmitte of 60 volunteers.
Despite being selected for funding for the redevelopment of An Tearmann, the work had to be done and paid before the grant could be drawn down in stage payments after proof of work.
The cost of bridging finance had to be sourced by the group, which secured Clan Credo as the council or the department didn’t consider the cost of bridging finance in the overall cost.
The group also had to provide 20% of the overall costs, which had to be verified through paperwork.
This percentage was raised by the group through a GoFundMe page as well as through voluntary labour.
Administration is another cost that is not allowable and chairperson, Gabrielle Hanrahan praised the support provided by Siobhán O’Reilly, Administrative Officer, Rural and Community Department.
Encouraged by the positive feedback from the community on the finished product, Ms Hanrahan hopes locals and visitors will savour the new amenity for years.
“The Quin branch of Muintir na Tire led by Frank Gordon initiated the first development of the site into a public space in the early 1960s,” she said.
“Following the premature death of Frank, his fellow volunteers installed the first fountain in the community garden and placed a plaque in his honour on the outside wall.
“The Quin branch of Muintir na Tire subsequently evolved into Quin Village Tidy Towns and its philosophy continues to encourage and inspire members of the local community today.
“Current and future generations living in Quin, its environs, diaspora and visitors are forever grateful to the generation of the 1950s for securing and providing this public space.
“This little sanctuary in the heart of a beautiful village permits interactions and connections across the generations with neighbours family, friends, colleagues, diaspora, visitors, unknown people and impersonal encounters.
“We felt that Quin Abbey was central to our community and we needed a public multifunctional space so people could sit down and view the abbey. This is an educational space for children who can borrow books from the community library. Quin has two great choirs in Quin who will be able to give recitals in this new space.
“It is a place where people can come and sit quietly or have food and enjoy the company of others.
Today, ‘An Tearmann’ represents the vision of previous generations, and spirit and integrity underpinning local and national government working in harmony with local communities,” she said.
To meet its biodiversity aims, the group will plant suitable biodiversity plants to create a living environmentally friendly living stone wall.
Water from the fountain will be circulated to a steel tank containing water plants. Some people are using this trough as a wishing well.
The surface includes grass, printed concrete, and a child-friendly resin finish that sparkles in the sunlight and at night creates a very interesting feature.
Inset lighting underneath the seating has prompted a lot of reaction when it is lit at night. A corner has been earmarked for a Christmas Tree that doesn’t obstruct the view of the abbey.

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