Kinsale’s Arts Community Want Historic Building Retained
Writes JJ Hurley
Kinsale’s arts community turned out in force on Wednesday night to lend their support to a recently launched campaign to save an historic arts building, which has staged theatre performances since the 19th Century.
Cork Co Council is now being urged to ensure that the Kinsale Municipal Hall is preserved for use by arts groups, with the venue having hosted plays and arts reviews since the 1880s.
Kinsale’s Municipal Hall staged theatre and drama performances more than 20 years before the Abbey Theatre opened its doors in Dublin. The recently constituted Kinsale Municipal Hall Revival Group has called on Cork County Council to ensure that the arts community in Kinsale has a permanent home at the Municipal Hall. The building, which has been closed to the performing arts since 2009 over what is believed be to a number of health and safety concerns, is also set to be one of a series of council-owned properties in the town that may be placed on the open market in the near future.
Following on the news that the historic building, which has played such a significant role in the town’s theatrical history, was about to be lost to the town’s arts community, two local residents, Cal Duggan of Rampart Players and Fiona McGeown, Painted Bird Productions, organised a hastily convened public meeting to discuss the implications.
Having secured assurances from Cllr. Gillian Coughlan and Cllr. Kevin Murphy that they will do their utmost to secure the venue for the arts community, as well as ensuring that the local authority retains ownership of the property at the meeting, Kinsale Municipal Hall Revival is set to lead a delegation to the next meeting of the Bandon/Kinsale Municipal area, to discuss the matter.
Outlining their case, spokesperson for the group Fiona McGeown said: ‘It is abundantly clear from the large attendance at Wednesday night’s public meeting, just how much this building means to the local community and how urgently we all wish to see it used as an Arts and Cultural venue.”
“We appreciate Cllrs. Coughlan and Murphy’s attendance and their continued support in putting our proposed motion forward before the council chamber.”
“We have sought clarity on a number of issues and we look forward to taking the next steps towards making this space an arts and cultural hub for the entire community.’