KILKENNY - Wonderful Windgap is a beacon of hope for rural Ireland

Magnificent village renewal in progress

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

Windgap trails behind no one

Colette Byrne, Kilkenny Co Council, craftsmen Seamus Davis, Kevin Fennelly, Cllr Matt Doran, John Hayes and Brian Tyrell the new Amenity and Sculpture Trail in Windgap

Windgap has, after years of hard work and detailed planning, become one of the finest villages in Ireland
This small little community has become a beacon of hope for other rural enclaves.
Thanks to a wonderful self-help attitude and with the support of state agencies and Kilkenny County Council it is facing the future with a renewed optimism after a plethora of initiatives have made it an even more wonderful place to live.
This week it recorded a huge increase in its Tidy Towns marks, up a massive eight per cent on last year.
Fears that the local pub would be lost have also been allayed and the ‘sale agreed’ sign has gone up on the Ella Dunphy sign outside Guinan’s pub.
This will be welcomed by many of adults in the village and its vicinity.
Avonmore creamery
The old Avonmore Creamery building at the bottom of the village has recently been sold and hopes are high that the new owner is going to rejuvenate what is a listed building.
Probably the most important development over the last year is the proposed opening of a community shop and a tea rooms not unlike Billy’s tea rooms in Ballyhale.
The local people are working closely with Kilkenny LEADER Partnership to make this a reality.
The community Hall has undergone a transformation and has been renovated and is currently being ‘kitted out’ and there is an understandable pride in the village over this.
A series of meeting have been held on putting a community/retail unit in there and this looks like coming to fruition soon.
Over the last 12 months Windgap has got a community playground which looks great is being used by locals and visitors.
Loop walks
The two loop walks around the village are a huge success and are bringing a new kind of visitor to the area.
They are both fantastic and are extremely interesting and when taken in tandem with the walks through and around the neighbouring village of Tullahought, would make a wonderful day out.
Indeed,, LEADER are working on a project covering the entire Lingaun Valley which includes the Knockroe Passage tomb and the Ahenny high Crosses and the other archaeological gems there including ogham stones and other wonders.
The new Amenity and Sculpture Trail was recently opened in Windgap where Eddie Kelly outlined the history of the newly restored Feehan’s Well and the importance of water to the generations of people in Windgap.
The ‘John Walsh forge’ project was completed a few years back and an identical replica of the old forge was built and adds to the charm of the village.
Jimmy Walsh
There is a dynamism at play in Windgap, a self-help attitude , that is beginning to raise it up above the parapet and it helps when you have someone like Jimmy Walsh, chairman of the Kilkenny County GAA board living in the parish where he was born and reared.
He is also the man who writes the Windgap notes for this paper.