Leitrim village issues appeal for people to come live there

Kiltyclogher, which has 223 residents, takes to social media to battle depopulation

 

A small village in north Co Leitrim has taken to social media in the hopes of expanding its community, calling on families to come live there.

Kiltyclogher, which has a population of less than 300 people, has put out a call for families to move to the village, as a result of the declining number of families living in the area.

The local community is fearful that the village’s two-teacher primary school, which has six green flags, will be reduced to one teacher if it does not reach the 15-pupil quota this September.

Locals have decided to take matters into their own hands and are appealing for families who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city living to move to Co Leitrim.

The average four-bedroom house in the area will set you back about €170,000, but locals promise that the village has more to offer families than value for money on property.

Susan Carton is one of the organisers of the “Save Kiltyclogher” campaign. She moved to the area in recent years, having given up her life in Dublin.

“This campaign was born out of a long history in the area. We are right up on the border with Fermanagh, so during the years of the Troubles, that damaged what had been once a very lively market town.

“More recently, however, the recession that the country went through . . . really damaged us.

“People just couldn’t get work here and a high percentage of our younger population just didn’t return here after completing their third-level education, as there was not that many opportunities for them,” Ms Carton told The Irish Times.

‘Grave concerns’

With a population of approximately 223 people, Ms Carton said the village has “grave concerns” that the 15-pupil quota needed to retain a two-teacher school will not be met this year.

“While Government policy has been talking about recovery, unfortunately, for us up here we are yet to feel it. It might be on the way but we are still waiting. We are now looking at losing our two-teacher status in the local school and this is something we are very concerned about.

“This year we had 15 pupils up until the end of the school year in June, but there is a possibility that this year in September we may be reduced to 11 pupils as parents are still deciding,” said Ms Carton.

The local community is fearful that if the school is reduced to a one-teacher school that it may go into further decline and eventually close.

The village hosts numerous festivals, including a music festival, while its Seán Mac Diarmada weekend pays tribute to the local 1916 hero.

The town is offering young families with primary-school-aged children a free overnight stay in the holiday centre in the village, so they can visit and see what they think about relocating.

“There are a number of us who moved up here to Kilty from Dublin for various reasons. Some of those families were part of the original rural resettlement programme, while others just saw how much better life can be away from traffic. Your money will go a lot longer up here, there’s an €8 blow-dry for women in the local hairdressers.

“Our quality of life has shot through the roof. If people are struggling with rent or trying to buy a house, then we would urge you to come and look at our little village and consider making it home,” Ms Carton said.

Among the village’s amenities, it boasts a very well-equipped shop with a post office, a heritage centre, and a hostel for tourists.

Anyone looking to take a visit to Kiltyclogher is urged to contact the local community at Kiltylive@gmail.com