Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, jointly marked the official commencement of works on Kinsale’s new state of the art library facility. The event, which took place in Kinsale on Sunday 25th July, marks the commencement of extensive refurbishment works which will see the town centre heritage building being re-purposed as a new library.
Designed by Cork County Council, the project will see the three-storey James O’Neill Building in Church Square converted into a modern library in the heart of Kinsale town. The building, known as the Old Mill, dates back to the late 19th Century and will be transformed into a multi-purpose space with a wide variety of opportunities for community and cultural use. It will be 11 times the size of the existing library which is located in the Methodist Hall.
The overall value of the investment in the facility will be €3.7m, jointly funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Cork County Council. The Minister has committed a total of €2.157m from the Government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), with the balance being provided by Cork County Council. In addition, the Council made the premises available - together with the adjoining carpark facility - in a location where real estate property values are amongst the most expensive in the country.
Once complete, the venue will offer a ground floor entrance space and attached gallery exhibition area, a mezzanine area, a children’s area, an adult and study area, and a dedicated digital facilities suite. The book stock available to borrow from Kinsale Library will increase fivefold, from approximately 5,000 items to 25,000 in the new space.
Speaking at site in Kinsale, the Minister said: “I was delighted to be able approve an investment of over €2.1 million through my Department’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund for this project. The completed Library will offer quality digital facilities to support small local businesses, tourists and locals requiring these facilities for work or leisure. It will also have a strong cultural, community and educational role particularly in the area of digital literacy while also preserving a listed building that is an essential part of the historic fabric of Kinsale town.”
Speaking at the visit, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan said: “The redevelopment of Kinsale Library is a wonderful project that will transform the services available to the people of Kinsale and the wider area. A state-of-the-art library service is essential for a town with 10 primary schools and a community college with 1100 students. The My Open Library service will also be introduced, extending the self-service opening hours from 8am to 10pm, 365 days a year. I’m particularly delighted to see a sensory space included in the plans for the new library. Inclusivity is one of the cornerstones of Cork County Council ethos and this project is another example of this.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey went on to say: “The project will bring back into full-time use a building that has been vacant for some time, together with bringing heritage to life, enhancing activity and business in the Church Square part of the town. More importantly, it will ensure the ongoing conservation of an important piece of architectural heritage in Kinsale town. It is an ideal location; it is highly accessible, in close proximity to existing housing for older people, and it has adjacent car parking. The significantly larger ground floor also affords our Library & Arts Service the scope to develop an enhanced and exciting service for the local community. I would like to acknowledge the Minister’s support to the proposals and I welcome, in particular, the funding contribution being made through the Government’s Rural Regeneration Development Fund. This is yet another flagship project for Cork County.”