Significant Funding Secured for Two West Cork Towns

Cork County Council has been granted more than €2 million in funding to revitalise the town centres of Skibbereen and Clonakilty.

Skibbereen has been awarded €1.8 million for public realm enhancement under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF). The money will be used to reanimate the streetscape in Skibbereen town centre and install a new wayfinding scheme to make it easier for visitors and residents to navigate around the town. 

The Skibbereen works include the paving of footpaths, urban greening, accessible street furniture, undergrounding cables and new street lighting. It also includes plans for a new raised paved area which will function both as a social seating area and an area for community and cultural events at Levis Quay and The Bridge area.

Clonakilty is set to benefit from €200,000 under THRIVE, the Town Centre First Heritage Revival Scheme which allows Local Authorities and citizens to reimagine town centres though the renovation and reuse of publicly owned vacant or derelict heritage buildings. 

The funds will be used to develop an integrated urban strategy for the council owned buildings and lands on Kent Street, a richly historical street in the heart of Clonakilty. Cork County Council own a number of properties on the street and will work with the local community to develop the strategy.

Welcoming the funding awards, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Frank O’Flynn, said,

Our towns and villages are the lifeblood of rural Ireland. The Town Centre First Initiative is set to have a major impact on rejuvenating our communities in County Cork.  I welcome both funding streams, which I have no doubt will help Cork County Council to engage with our citizens and empower the communities to shape the future of their town centres by identifying opportunities which will help ensure the long-term vitality of these areas.

Skibbereen was identified as a ‘pathfinder town’ under the national Town Centre First initiative and a regeneration plan has been developed by Cork County Council in partnership with local stakeholders and the dedicated Town Team. The plan outlines 35 objectives to regenerate the town centre as a viable, vibrant and attractive location for people to live, work and visit, while also improving its capacity to function as the service, social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community.

The RRDF funding directly supports 11 of the objectives and includes substantial public realm improvements to transform the fabric of the town, to support accessibility and sustainable travel and to complement other initiatives being undertaken by Cork County Council in the town.   

THRIVE is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme 2021-2027 and the Northern and Western Regional Programme 2021-2027.  Cork County Council will strive to promote the values and working principles of the New European Bauhaus – an initiative of the European Union – in their strategies and projects to ensure these projects are sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, inclusive and accessible.

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

Valerie O'Sullivan

Chief Executive

Cork County Council Headquarters, County Hall, Carrigrohane Road, Cork, Ireland. Eircode: T12 R2NC.

THRIVE funding will facilitate the development and enhancement of an integrated urban strategy in Clonakilty, using a Town Centre First Approach and will assist Cork County Council in identifying suitable projects for potential capital investment.  Likewise, RRDF funding will support the realisation of some of our Town Centre First plans in Skibbereen.  I look forward to seeing the impact these schemes will have on both Clonakilty and Skibbereen and the resulting strengthening of the economic, social, and cultural vibrancy of both towns.