We Are West Limerick

Welcome to ‘We Are West Limerick’ a celebration of diversity throughout our region.
This series aims to capture the experiences and perspectives of individuals from throughout West Limerick and will also shine a spotlight on landscapes, landmarks, and cultural traditions.
By sharing the stories of our community and the beauty of our surroundings, we hope to inspire others to see West Limerick through a lens of positivity and appreciation.
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‘We Are West Limerick’ is an initiative provided through SICAP. The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is co-funded by the Irish Government, through the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the European Social Fund Plus under the Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training (EIST) Programme 2021 -2027.
Welcome to the Neighborhood is an international artists residency that started in 2006, where we bring artists to the town and they live in our community based here in Askeaton. It’s a space where people come and spend time in the studio or develop projects and you really get a sense of how the artworks made here respond to the history and heritage of the area.
This year we have three artists working and living in the town for 2 weeks and a team to facilitate them making the new work. We also have quite a busy public program too. As we don’t have a gallery space within the town it means that artworks can happen on the streets, in fields, on the radio, empty shop units or digitally, so it’s quite exciting in that regard.
Because there is a team here things can happen very quickly and there’s often really good, very ambitious artworks made. Some pieces go on to galleries, museums or film festivals in Europe or the States and some pieces stay. There’s a public art trail in the town that we’re trying to develop a little bit more and highlight it to become cultural tourism.
We get great support from the Community Council, Civil Trust and community groups. The community here is really strong and welcoming and the contemporary art is kind of seen as another layer. We’re very much involved in community and we’re very much part of the kind of framework here. Artists come in and involve themselves in local conversations and it works well in that way.
Michele Horrigan, Curator/Director/Founder,  Askeaton Contemporary Arts
Margaret Moloney, born on January 9, 1869, in Glin, County Limerick, was known as the “First Lady of the Estuary,” as she broke with traditions to become a journalist, nationalist, and Ireland’s first female harbour master.
Margaret began her career as a seamstress, while her brother James served as a journalist and the harbour master in Glin. Following the death of their mother, Margaret took over her role as local shopkeeper. When James passed away in 1918, she also took on his positions as both a journalist and harbour master, becoming the local correspondent for the Limerick Leader newspaper.
She was also known to write “trenchant nationalistic pieces” in the lead up to the War of Independence which she continued to publish despite threats from the Black and Tans to burn down her house.
Margaret was paid £8 a year by the Limerick Harbour Board in the 1920s and this had increased to £10, with a £10 allowance for a uniform and waterproof cloak, by her retirement in 1952. Her uniform had to be specially made as there were none for women at that time. After her retirement, the position was discontinued as Glin ceased to be a commercial port.
When she died in 1959 aged 90, her obituary claimed that “Ireland loses its only woman harbour master” and she was described as “probably the world’s oldest harbour master, and certainly the world’s only woman to hold such a position”. Despite her many roles and achievements, her death certificate records her simply as ‘daughter of labourer’.
In 2000, a sculpture designed by local artist Pat O’Loughlin, commemorating Margaret Moloney was erected on the Main Street in Glin as part of the Millennium celebrations.
 View from Kilteery Pier, Loughill
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 Kilmeedy Development decided we should try & open a community shop in the village and then somebody said, well, why not do a café in the shop & to be honest, people thought, Oh my God, this is mad, a cafe in Kilmeedy that’s not going to possibly work.
Once we had four shops in the village then for a number of years we didn’t have any. Our ethos is farm to fork. We try to keep our carbon footprint down & use locally sourced products as much as we can.
We always said getting it to open was easy, keeping the door open is quite challenging. It’s an all day, every day, every week challenge because of costs and staff. We’re always on the lookout for volunteers.
Consistency is the name of the game. If you say the door is open from 8 to 5 you have to have somebody inside for those hours serving good quality products & food, which we pride ourselves in.
Our new outside area is amazing and we’ve started catering for parties. We’ve have gone as far as we could possibly go, but our kitchen is not used in the evening time. If local producers were looking to come into a commercial kitchen, we have the facilities. We would love it if people used it to its full potential.
We know you couldn’t do a weekly shop in a small convenience store. But just pick one item and switch it out and maybe purchase it with us instead – it keeps local jobs and our community going.
Maura Heenan & Michelle O’Connell, Roots Shop & Cafe, Kilmeedy
Kilscannell, Co. Limerick

#wearewestlimerick #sicap 

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River Arra, Newcastle West

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 AL: Desmond Complex provides a number of benefits to the community in the sense that it caters for all age groups. The facilities here are aimed primarily at the young and the elderly but this is a social enterprise, so while roughly 70% of our funding comes from government, we have to generate the other 30% ourselves and we do that by renting out the rooms. We’re providing facilities for the likes of the choir, a school of music, film club, the Brothers of Charity have a room & Citizens Information are based here as well. There’s the Day Care service providing an opportunity for members of the community to meet regularly and enjoy a hot meal. Plus the Creche which is taking in between 70 and 90 children a week and has a full-time staff of 15 people.
I’m also delighted that people that have moved here from abroad are using it now in a big way too.
KS: There’s a real sense of satisfaction seeing everyone coming in because we originally started fundraising to purchase a site, then the building opened in 2006 and now 18 years later the building is still providing for the community. To go from all the fundraising effort to it being established as part of the community, makes it all worthwhile.
AL: What stands out to me is just simple things really. I had two different men that had lost their wives say it was literally life saving for them to be able to come here. It gave them something to do and they got enjoyment out of meeting other people.
One thing that we took over as a result of COVID was Meals on Wheels and we’re delivering between 130 and 160 meals a week five days a week.
We now have a full-time driver, but volunteers have stayed involved because they wanted to. They have built up a relationship with the people who they deliver food to, and it works both ways as they get something out of it as well.
KS: We feel we are doing something positive in the community. Desmond Complex will continue to be here for the people of West Limerick to use when they need it.
Alex Lafferty, Chairperson & Kathleen Sheehy, Board member
Desmond Complex, NCW
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Stunning aurora borealis lighting up the night sky over Abbeyfeale
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Liskennett Equine Activity Centre, Part 1 of 2
We opened Liskennett Equine Activity Centre in 2015 to children and adults with autism and also intellectual disability and last year we provided 13,207 sessions. We are open 6 days a week 9 to 5 every day and Saturdays are open days where families can come as a family unit and avail of the surroundings here at Liskennett.
They can all ride, not only the child with autism or intellectual disability but Mum, Dad and all the siblings can also ride. We are here not to isolate the person who has autism so that they’re coming here, and the sibling goes hurling or football or whatever it is. Here they come in and enjoy it together as a family unit. Very often, the person with autism might not ride, but actually they are the ticket in the door for the other family and they encouraged them to come which is which is great to see.
This is a form of respite where people can come for the day and even though they may have an hour session here, they are welcome spend the day, walk around, have a picnic, use the playground.
We offer 3 services when it comes to the horses. There’s the riding, the equine learning, which is where especially the adults come and they learn all about the horses and to groom & feed, and then the third one which is what we’re currently working on where the person will rehab the horse for the benefit of both the person and the horse.
The Horse Boy programme we run has shown that being on a horse, the rhythm of riding effects the stress hormones, and this then aids towards better communication. I have seen the benefits first hand with my daughter Caroline.
In this facility we have 25 horses and ponies, all the different types and sizes to suit all abilities and all the different temperaments. We have people with mild autism and very little challenges who might learn to ride to those who have behaviours that challenge and you know, that’s what we specialise in really, that they have somewhere to go.
David Doyle, Services Development Officer, Liskennett Equine Activity Centre, Granagh
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Liskennett Equine Activity Centre, Part 2 of 2
Before my grandson James I had no experience of autism. I never knew the word or what it meant but it’s become a huge thing in our lives. They are in a little world of their own and it must be very hard for them to cope.
We researched and did courses to help understand but it’s talking to others that you learn. At Liskennett I always make a point of interacting with parents or other grandparents and chat to them about their child and how they cope. Cope is a big word and you’ll learn more from them than you do from courses.
We used to come to Liskennett once a week then they changed to open days on Saturdays but that was totally unsuitable for James because he would be looking for his horse straight away and it might be out with another child. We had a couple of very bad days so now we go every third week. It has to suit the child you see and not the parent or grandparent, and it’s working fine.
He was never scared of the horse and usually after riding he’s calmer. He loves to trot. I’d be a bit afraid he’d fall off, but when he’s moving up and down with the horse he loves the movement and there’s a big smile on his face, and he smiles at everyone he meets going round the circuit. Sometimes he can be agitated but the experienced staff here take him out and say he’ll be alright, and he is.
I think they’re great people at Liskennett. I do Santa here and I see the effort required but that’s just for one day, staff and volunteers here have it all day, every day. It’s like a vocation and David Doyle is an amazing man. He always says go with the child, don’t be chastising and going against them.
I enjoy bringing James here and will keep bringing him, but you have to listen to your age. I can’t run after James anymore. He will be going to a new school in September and that will hopefully open up a whole new world and new activities for him, but we will keep coming here while we can. Its an amazing facility for people of West Limerick to access and our family are grateful for all they do here.
Seamus Lyons, NCW
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Castle Demesne, Newcastle West
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Fleadh by the Feale
Cousins from Abbeyfeale and Cork joined forces to compete at the Fleadh by the Feale Busking Competition on Friday evening.
‘I like the music because it’s very energetic and a lot of people play it, so you have a lot of craic and meet a lot of people. It’s fun’.
‘I like when we all get together and play music for other people. When you play on your own, you’re ok but when you play in a band you sound really good’
‘We’ve been learning from 5 years to 6 months depending on the instruments. I chose the fiddle because I was upstairs in Grandad Billy’s house, and there was a fiddle under the bed that belonged to our grand uncle Gerard, and I started playing with it and kinda stuck with it’
‘I play the tin whistle because it’s the first one that you have to play but I’d like to learn the flute’
‘I’ve got an accordion. Someone told me to do it, so I went into lessons and I still do it every week’.
‘I play the concertina and bodhran. I probably like the bodhran more. I’ve been doing it for a few more years, so I’ve got a better hang of it’.
‘I chose the banjo because I didn’t want to be copying anyone else’
‘We practice at home every couple of days and then we get together maybe six times a year. We all practice together in Grandad Billys sitting room having a session’
‘…and then Billy teaches us how to do it properly!’
‘I don’t mind practicing. It can be a bit tiring but it’s worth it in the end’
‘I’d like to do another Fleadh, All Irelands, enter more competitions or getting to be a group that’s well known’.
‘I’d like to be a full-time musician’.
‘I’d still do it in the future yeah but as a second thing like as a fun thing to do’.
‘I was in an under 12 group and we came 3rd in the All-Ireland last year’
‘This is my first Fleadh!’
Charlie, Darragh, Sean, Síofra, Naoise and Fionán Ahern
Fleadh by the Feale U15 Busking Competition Winners 2024
View from top of Barnagh Hill
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I’m a musician myself, a singer-songwriter, born and raised in Newcastle West. We were lucky growing up at that time because the culture was very different, there was a lot more bars and live music was rife. Walking down through the square you would hear music coming out of the Greyhound bar, Cronins, the Central, Barrys and all these places.
I was always pushing to try and do gigs and bring stuff to NCW. The Arts Council were great in the sense that they were always trying but I suppose the dynamics changed drastically and it got to a point where there is no live music anywhere really.
So, we started doing the likes of the Window Sessions down in Cleary’s in 2019 and then we were lucky enough to get funding and started bigger Windows Sessions gigs. We sold 400 tickets within a matter of two days, and it was like ok there is an avenue for live music and there’s definitely listeners out there.
I’m in business in NCW and there are plenty of great businesses in town, so in my head I was like rather than just trying to do a bit of a festival in one pub why not make it quirky and incorporate different businesses and a variety of types of music. So last year we did.
I remember my wife saying ‘Do you think people are actually going to buy tickets for this’? And I was like I don’t know, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t. We sold 75 tickets, didn’t really know what we were doing, but the day went really well and everyone who came away at the end was like ‘Next year you need to keep a ticket for me’.
The whole ethos of the music trail is really and truly to just get some creative juice flowing through the town. It’s very diverse and hopefully people have a really memorable experience. It may even inspire people to write a song or strum a few chords and for younger people to know it’s not all happening just in Dublin, or London. That’s really where the whole thing comes from and I intend on doing this from here forward but keeping it as it is – kind of quirky and not letting it get big even if there is demand. Keep it kind of special and connected.
Emmet Scanlan,  Music Trail Organiser / Singer Songwriter
Emmet and Swedish violin virtuoso Werner Gladh lead ticket holders through Newcastle West during the Music Trail
Athea, Co. Limerick
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 ALONE works with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, or are facing other difficulties.
Our aim is to give a voice to older people in the community and enable them to stay at home for as long as possible, safely, securely, and happily. We assist with anyone over the age of 60 whether they live alone or not. We are currently looking for volunteers to join our Support and Befriending Service in the West Limerick area to visit someone in their local community for just one hour a week. Volunteers provide a listening ear, information, and support for older people in a warm, friendly, and professional manner. That social interaction is invaluable to people these days and all training and support is given by ALONE.
Mage Collum, ALONE Support Coordinator, West Limerick
For more information see www.alone.ie          volunteer@alone.ie
 Askeaton Friary
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Cór le Chéile Part 1 of 2
Cór le Chéile, which means choir together is a community choir based in Newcastle West. It started a year ago, and we have over 60 members, male and female, so it’s mixed voice choir. The focus of the choir is for singing, for fun, for relaxation, for social connectedness, just overall health and wellbeing. I am a music therapist, so I’ve known for a long time the benefits of music and the positive impact it can have in people’s lives. Setting up a choir was something that I’ve always thought of doing but it wasn’t until after covid, when we were all so disconnected and there was such a lack of live music, or social gatherings of any sort that I decided I’d give it a go. It was my first time doing this, I advertised a ‘Sing into Spring’ 10-week project and I was inundated with people interested and enthusiastic to come along. So far, we’ve done a few performances, participated in local charity events such as the Big Busk for Focus Ireland, we’re taking part in Darkness Into Light and we’re excited about doing the Newcastle West Music Trail which is a great event in the town.
Oonagh McMahon, Choir Director     #wearewestlimerick

Cór le Chéile Part 2 of 2
When I came in to Cór le Chéile, the first night was like, gosh did I do the right thing? Am I going to fit in? Because you know, I never really branched out to a group like this as it was always our own little parish at home with our own friends. The first night I came in and I said I don’t know will I like it and then sure once you get talking to one, you’re talking to all. It’s just great.
I joined the choir because my brother died very suddenly, and I felt that I needed something. I came in here, I knew nobody, and I love it now. It’s saved me actually because it’s just great to meet different people from different parts of the town and country and I get a lot out of it. Oonagh is amazing and I wouldn’t miss it now.
Sheila Collins, Killeedy, Cór le Chéile Member     #wearewestlimerick
 View from Knights Walk, Glin
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When I lived in Sligo back in 2006, I said to my Irish friends, we’re moving to Limerick they say ‘Oh you’re going to stab city’. That was the perception outside of Limerick then and I was a bit afraid as well to come. But it’s completely different. I was in Roscommon, Leitrim, and Sligo, but I enjoyed more here than any other, and here is where we settled and made home.
I would say the Irish community is exceptionally welcoming. My first experience when I came here, I wanted to find an address so I asked some Irish people can you please tell me where is it? They literally asked me to sit down in their car and they dropped me to the address. We’ve all got the opportunity go to Australia and all, but I would never because this is my, and what most of the Indian communities think of, as their second home.
My son thinks he’s pure Irish. A pure Limerick man. West Limerick has provided a good future for us and our kids and everything is fantastic.
Jai Hiremath, NCW     


 Springtime in West Limerick
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Life has changed very much in my lifetime. I went to school in Athea and I’m living back there again. We’re very positive at the moment because we have a shop, just one shop, but it really does everything. We recently had the butcher retire but now we have a beautician. We have a doctor and surgery, a good chemist and the shop as I said so we’re delighted, you know, because like in past years we would have had 10 shops and 15 pubs and all that, life has changed but what we have makes life in the place. Athea always looks lively because there’s always things happening, We also have a community hall where I go to exercise classes myself, active drama group and an excellent GAA pitch with a walk that’s all lit up. One thing said about Athea is if you call a meeting, you’ll get a crowd no matter what so I think it will keep improving all the time. The village really is a very positive place to live.
Bridie Ahern, Athea     


Barnagh Tunnel,  Limerick Greenway
Celebrating the diversity of people and places in our region
Park Run is a free timed event every Saturday morning in the Newcastle West Demesne. We are currently averaging about 60 participants every week. It’s completely voluntary in fact we won’t be able to do it without at least 6 volunteers every Saturday. There’s the setting up and taking down, two timekeepers, barcode scanner, person giving out finish tokens, marshal, tail walker and the run director on top of that.
There’s the healthy side of it – You’re up, you’re active. You don’t have to run it, you can walk or cycle. We have participants and volunteers of all ages and capabilities, but the primary benefit would be your sense of community and coming out and meeting people. People come and have the banter and we go for coffee after – there’s a real community around it.
Denis Fitzgerald. Event Director of Newcastle West Park Run (far right) with event volunteers.
For more information check out https://www.parkrun.ie/newcastlewest/
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Good Morning from Maiden Street, Newcastle West
Celebrating the diversity of people and places in our region
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West Limerick Migrant Network celebrating St Patricks Day with colourful exuberance in Newcastle West. The Migrant Network was established in 2023 by West Limerick Resources as a platform for the many diverse cultures that live in our region to share ideas, identify challenges and advocate for changes. Joining the NCW parade they demonstrated their goal to make West Limerick a more inclusive community that celebrates diversity and promotes migrant participation.




My name is Ada. I work as a Mathematics teacher in Colaiste na Trocaire in Rathkeale. I’ve been in West Limerick five months. I love Rathkeale, I love West Limerick. Now the reason being is I see them as a welcoming people, very welcoming in general Ireland is welcoming, but especially down here in West Limerick because I know what I went through before.  As a black teacher, I couldn’t  get a teaching job but eventually this school in West Limerick believed that a black teacher could do something, and it’s been a whole wonderful experience. And the good thing is, every single person makes me feel at home here in West Limerick. Sometimes I’m walking down the road and then they see me and they say ‘Hello our teacher, how are you?’ That makes me feel like I’m at home regardless of how long it took me to eventually get to where I had always wanted to be. So I must applaud Rathkeale and West Limerick particularly for that.
The next thing is I think I would personally want them to work out more accommodation so that people like me won’t have to travel so far, you know, to come down here to do my job. So if there is accessibility, ability to get accommodation, I think that would be a good one for us and I will be very glad to settle down here in West Limerick.
Ada Corlette Aguocha, Rathkeale       #wearewestlimerick




Adare Castle
We Are West Limerick – Celebrating the diversity of people and places in our region
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Chief Superintendent Aileen Magner (left) & Traveller Access Officer Edel O’Donnell (right) gave a powerful and personal presentation at the recent International Womens Day celebration hosted by Rathkeale Together. Afterwards we asked what their hopes are for the women of West Limerick.
E: What I would like to see is Cohesion – everyone working together with tolerance, leadership and respect.
A: I think today was such an example of how people can come together and be so positive. Sit down together and get to know each other and again its all about finding our similarities not focusing on what’s different about us. Whether it be members of the travelling community in Rathkeale or members of the settled community its about finding those similarities as women and as mothers and when you find that we could talk forever cause its families isn’t it and we could talk forever about families and love.
E: Yes focus not on what’s different but on what’s similar, what brings people together.