A north Co Leitrim village with a dwindling population has taken to social media to ask families to move there.
The locals in Kiltyclogher, which has a population of approximately 223 people, are concerned that the village’s two-teacher primary school will be reduced to one teacher if it does not reach the 15-pupil quota by September. If that happens, the community is worried that it may eventually close.
Susan Carton, one of the organizers of the “Save Kiltyclogher” campaign, moved to the village in recent years from Dublin.
“This campaign was born out of a long history in the area. We are right up on the border with Fermanagh, so during the years of the Troubles, that damaged what had been once a very lively market town,” she told The Irish Times.
“More recently, however, the recession that the country went through . . . really damaged us.
“People just couldn’t get work here and a high percentage of our younger population just didn’t return here after completing their third-level education, as there was not that many opportunities for them.”
Carton said the village is now fearful that the 15-student quota needed to retain a two-teacher school will not be met this year.
“We are now looking at losing our two-teacher status in the local school and this is something we are very concerned about,” she said
“This year we had 15 pupils up until the end of the school year in June, but there is a possibility that this year in September we may be reduced to 11 pupils as parents are still deciding.”
The village is offering families with primary-school-aged children a free overnight stay in the holiday center in the village so they can visit the town.
“There are a number of us who moved up here to Kilty from Dublin for various reasons. Some of those families were part of the original rural resettlement program, while others just saw how much better life can be away from traffic. Your money will go a lot longer up here, there’s an €8 blow-dry for women in the local hairdressers.
“Our quality of life has shot through the roof. If people are struggling with rent or trying to buy a house, then we would urge you to come and look at our little village and consider making it home,” Carton said.
Natasha Pearson, a spokesperson for KiltyLive, told TheJournal.ie: “We only need one or two families to keep the school open.”
“We’ve a lovely village, we’re close to lakes, we have beautiful walks, beautiful mountains, we’re family friendly, pet friendly… It’s just an amazing place,” she said.
“We’re looking for young families who want a safe place to raise children and pick up some Irish traditions.”
“We’re getting a fantastic response. We have houses that are done up and available. Rent allowance is considered and accepted.
“It suits people who might be tired of the hustle and bustle.
“We’re all very close-knit. It’s a very special, beautiful place.”
An average four-bedroom house in the area will will cost about €170,000 (approx. $200,160). The village has a well-equipped shop with a post office, a heritage center and a hostel for tourists, and it hosts numerous festivals, including a music festival.
Families interested in visiting Kiltyclogher should contact the local community at [email protected]