For the past year, the Fethard Business and Tourism Group have focused on securing a future for the Town Hall. The Town Hall has been identified as one of the most important early seventeenth century buildings in Ireland. It has been lying almost derelict for 20 years, saved only by the Country Markets every Friday. We now have a grand vision for the building which should fill it with heritage-led community-driven activity and secure its long-term role.
This week the detail of the planning application is being finalised by Shaffrey Architects in discussion with South Tipperary County Council and (because of its importance) with officials from the Department of the Environment. We are anxious to share these plans with the people of Fethard and invite you to join us at the Town Hall on Friday, December 7, between 2-5pm to view these plans.
It is planned that the building will have a number of ‘anchor’ tenants to secure a cash flow. On the top floor, we hope to have an Irish Landmark Trust apartment. This will be available for members of the public to rent for weekends or weekday breaks. It should provide an income stream. The apartment will be decked out with period furnishings and decoration and will have a commanding view southwards to the Church of Ireland church and over to Slievenamon.
On the middle floor, we hope to have a room dedicated for Community Council use (in the old Corporation Room) and a further room which will be rented by the Fethard Historical Society and used as a library and clubhouse. The middle floor will be dominated by a large and comfortable Exhibition Hall which we hope to make available for all kinds of community activities.
The ground floor will continue to be the home of the Country Markets for their Friday session, but the most exciting development is that a new café facility will be run from here. This café, which will be properly kitted out with all the requirements for food preparation, will also house the Tourist Information and will have a viewing platform at the rear overlooking the medieval precinct with lovely south-facing views across the river to Market Hill. There will be a lift for disabled access and modern toilet facilities. And we hope very much to re-open a third seventeenth century doorway that leads through the perimeter wall into the Church of Ireland graveyard which will mean that the Church of Ireland will be able to avail of the new facilities.
So please come and join us on Friday to discuss these plans and see our ideas.