Corofin & District Development Company Ltd

In an effort to halt the downward spiral in the economy of the parish in the 1960’s, a group of foreseeing and dedicated people came together to form the first Corofin & District Development Company. This group included Fr. Martin Ryan, Dr. Donogh Mc Namara, Naoise Cleary, Frances McCavitt, Nora Minihan, Kathleen Hurley, Nancy Howley, Bridie Murphy, Tommy Daffy, Miko Burke, Sean Kenny and Tommy Cahill.

Corofin had for decades been a centre for angling. Many people of note had visited Clifden House, then a guest house in the capable hands of Tommy and Mary Studdert. The house and Lake Inchiquin were immortalised in Barkers’ book An Anglers Paradise. The Development Company decided to capitalise on this and set about acquiring access to the surrounding lakes. With the help of Clare County Council this was accomplished. The Old School was the scene of great activity when the VEC conducted classes in boat building. The newly built boats were used on the lakes and fishing competitions organised by the angling club were supported by anglers from far and wide.Lake Inchiquin was also the scene of many successful regattas.

In the 60’s and 70’s, this country began to look at tourism as a new source of income. Shannon airport had developed and Americans were seeing Ireland as a tourist destination. Irish coffee and Duty Free were invented. Shannon Development conceived the idea of building Irish cottage type tourist accommodation in rural settings. The local boom in tourism brought many ex patriots of Clare to the county. Numbers of them were seeking their roots. This was a field of great interest to Naoise Cleary who had spent many years researching genealogy. A new concept was conceived, the setting up of a Clare Heritage and Genealogy Centre in Corofin. At this point the Church of Ireland representative body had discontinued services at St Catherine’s Church. They offered the building to the Development Company to be used for cultural purposes. The Heritage Centre had found a home and was officially opened by the president of Ireland Dr Patrick Hillery in September 1982. Some years later a new Genealogy Centre was built on the site of the old Garda Station and was officially opened by President Mary Robinson in 1993. The business continues to expand yearly. The old Development Company was at this point concentrating its attention on Heritage and Genealogy. A group of concerned persons came together in 1995 and formed a new Development Group known as Coiste Forbartha Chora Finne with the objective of renewing interest in the development of the area. Meetings were held with Council officials and a programme of improvements was proposed to them. These included the provision of better water and sewerage facilities, a traffic management plan for the village, the upgrading of streets and footpaths and the provision of off-street parking. Some off-street parking was provided but as funds were not available no work could be done on the streets. However, the Council officials promised that in 1997 money would be provided for the first phase of improvements to paths and roadway. Thanks to the persistent nagging of the Development and the commitment of the then engineer Jack Mitchell this first phase was completed. The second phase was eventually completed.

In March 1997 Coiste Forbartha became a private limited company with shareholders from twelve groups in the parish. It has also adopted the name of the old Development Company and is now trading as Corofin & District Development Company. The Company have sponsored three Community Employment Schemes in recent years, which have been of great benefit to the area. It is a member of Clan, the umbrella group for Development Companies in the North Clare area. The Corofin & District Development Company twinned with Tonquedec in Brittany in 2000 after an initial contact in June 1998. The Development Company is a voluntary organisation, the sole aim of which is the betterment of this area for the good of all. The great community spirit of the 50’s and 60’s is sadly lacking in this millennium. Vested interests and other agendas are getting in the way. The old Irish seanfhocal comes to mind which is relevant today as it was then

“Ni neart go chur le cheile”

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