New Library is in Kinsale’s Good Books and Ballydesmond’s Pocket Park

Valerie O'Sullivan, Cheief Executive, Cork County Council,  Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD and Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Frank O'Flynn at the official opening of Kinsale Library.

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD, have officially opened Kinsale’s new library and Ballydesmond’s Pocket Park.

Opening its doors to the public a couple of months ago, the new Kinsale Library has already had over 30,000 visits, 14,000 items issued and 2,722 new or re-registering members. The new library is ten times larger than the previous premises in Kinsale over three floors. With over 25,000 items available to borrow, its stock has increased fivefold. 44 Events have taken place since its opening, with 1073 attendees. These include author visits, Space Week events, Exhibition Launches, Children’s Book Festival events, History talks, Culture Night, Chair yoga, Story Time, Ciorcal Comhrá, class visits and tours to name but a few.

Designed inhouse by Cork County Council’s Architects Department, the project has seen the conversion of the James O'Neill Building (Old Mill), a 3-storey structure in Church Square, Kinsale into the town’s new library. This development has transformed the service offered to the people of Kinsale and the wider community that it serves across surrounding areas. The large, multi-purpose building offers a wide variety of opportunities for community and cultural use. The development is an investment of €4.8m, €2.1m of which is being funded by the Rural Regeneration and Development fund administered by the Minister’s own Department of Rural and Community Development.

Also benefitting from the Rural Regeneration and Development fund is Ballydesmond, especially its new Pocket Park.  Designed as a multigenerational and environmentally attractive space, the park is the result of an extensive community consultation process conducted in 2018 and 2019, delivered as part of a larger plan to support Ballydesmond’s socio economic needs. The plan was supported by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to the value of €56,250, with a total of €75,000 including match funding from Cork County Council. Planning for the new pocket park was granted in early 2021 and later that same year, Cork County Council received further Rural Regeneration and Development Funding of €774,000, totalling €903,000 with match funding from Council.

Much welcomed by the community, the pocket park provides increased accessibility and connectivity within the village centre and keys amenities, resulting in an increase in footfall for the village centre and subsequent economic spin off with an enhanced experience for shoppers, the community and visitors.  The pocket park offers social and cultural benefits as well as an exercise area. It will also be used for future events and festivals.

In opening both developments, the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Frank O’Flynn said, 

I’m proud to say that Kinsale Library has become a multipurpose community and artist hub for all to enjoy. A significantly larger premises affords our own Library and Arts Service the scope to develop an enhanced and exciting service for the local community. With 10 local primary schools and Kinsale Community College with 1100 students, the library will provide a center of learning and knowledge for years to come. Similarly, Ballydesmond Pocket Park is for its community and will be a feature that goes from strength to strength over the years.  It was requested by the local community, for the community, the definition of our role as an enabler of community development.

Speaking at the library, Minister Humphreys said, “This really is a landmark day for this community – and I know there are many people here with us who have put their hearts and souls in making today happen.  But it’s also a very special day for our public library and I want to welcome all the librarians and library staff who are with us this morning. This project really goes to the heart of what the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is all about.  Supporting and empowering communities in taking old historical buildings, bringing them back to life and re-purposing them for 21st century use.”

Speaking in Ballydesmond, Minister Humphreys said, “Through this project, we’ve delivered much needed public realm improvements and recreational amenities, including this wonderful new ‘Pocket Park’ right in the heart of the village. Time and time again we see how delivering enhanced public spaces like this do so much in terms of making our towns and villages better places to live work and raise a family.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Valerie O’Sullivan added, 

A sensitive and innovative design has been developed for the Old Mill location at Church Square for use as a state-of-the-art library. The project has brought back into full-time use, a building that had been empty for decades, bringing heritage to life as well as enhancing activity and business in the Church Square part of the town and more importantly ensuring the ongoing conservation of an important piece of architectural heritage in Kinsale town. While Ballydesmond’s Pocket Park located in the village centre provides an opportunity for increased socialisation and increased engagement between residents of the village and is truly a wonderful new amenity for the village.

Kinsale Library is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am - 5.30pm with ‘My Open Library’ hours coming into effect from early 2024, extending access until 10pm, 7 days a week. The library offers a wide range of materials for lending to adults, young adults, and children. Free Wi-Fi access is available to members and a range of services including Study Spaces, Public Computers, Photocopying and Remote Printing. 

Contact or visit the premises at Church Square, Kinsale to join today.