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Drumshambo in Co. Leitrim, featured in this photo, has received €596, 290 towards a landmark project that will see two high-profile buildings in the town centre re-purposed as a remote working hub and creative studio. Alamy Stock Photo
rural ireland

Old schools, cinemas and vacant buildings to be re-vamped into work hubs and community spaces

The aim of the funding is to target dereliction in towns and villages in rural Ireland.

OLD SCHOOLS, CINEMAS, empty courthouses and other vacant buildings are to be re-vamped into remote working hubs and community spaces as part of the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) which is aimed at rejuvenating town centres.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys today announced funding of €21.5 million for 27 landmark regeneration projects in rural communities across the country.

The aim of the funding is to target dereliction in towns and villages in rural Ireland, while also driving economic growth and boosting tourism in rural Ireland.

A number of the projects approved for funding involve the re-purposing of old, derelict and historical buildings into modern-day remote working hubs, as well as enterprise, cultural and community facilities.

The projects receiving funding include:

  • Edenderry Regeneration Phase II, Co. Offaly – €2.15 million: Turning a major derelict site in the town centre into a state-of-the-art community centre, providing for a community library, as well as leisure and cultural facilities.
  • Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim – €596, 290: A landmark project that will see two high-profile buildings in the town centre – including a former Bank of Ireland building re-purposed as the Exchange Smart Working Hub and Creative Studios, providing remote working and creative spaces. 
  • Dungarvan Digital Transformation Hub, Co. Waterford – €1.39 million: The renovation of three town centre buildings into a Digital Transformation Hub – delivering office, training and innovation workspace for almost 200 people.
  • Listowel, Co. Kerry: ‘Where Story Begins’ – €729,304: This major project involves the renewal of the town square, as well as the provision of a multifunctional co-working, tourism, heritage and cultural building. It also involves the connection of the North Kerry Greenway into the heart of the town and the repurposing of under-utilised units in the town centre as enterprise spaces.
  • Oldcastle Town Centre, Co. Meath - €854,502:  Major public realm upgrades to the town square, as well as the transformation of the vacant Fairgreen area into a new plaza and bowling green.
  • Borris-in-Ossary, Co, Laois - €212,000: This project involves the renovation and re-use of the historic courthouse building as a remote working and community facility.
  • Granard Destination Town’, Co. Longford: €1.11 million: Development of a multi-use open space and parkland, as well as public realm enhancements – increasing connectivity and reducing congestion in the town centre.
  • Rathvilly, Co. Carlow – €222,000: Developing a multi-purpose hub in a former school premises that will provide social, cultural, economic and community facilities.
  • Nenagh, Co. Tipperary – €1.2 million: The Rialto Digital and Enterprise Hub will replace a disused cinema in the town. The plans will see the re-development of a brownfield site behind the hub, a new streetscape and will explore the potential provision of town centre housing and a new public amenity.
  • Callan, Co. Kilkenny – €862,000: Regeneration of the historic core of Callan Town and re-development of existing historical buildings to provide a library, youth, community, arts space and a remote working hub.
  • Blessington, Co. Wicklow – €1,034,704: Redevelopment of derelict property to create an eHub and a visitor centre for the forthcoming greenway, which aims to increase visitor numbers to the Blessington Lakes and Russborough House.

A full list of the successful projects is available here.

Minister Humphreys said the fund has now delivered €277 million for 191 projects.

“I’m particularly pleased to see that so many projects being supported today will provide remote working opportunities for tens of thousands of people. Remote Working is the now very much part of the fabric of rural Ireland due to Covid-19.

“By continuing to invest in remote working facilities – by turning old, run-down buildings into digital hubs, we will ensure more of our young people can work and live in their own community,” she said.

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