Article on Ballyvaughan-Fanore Community Field written by Edward O'Loghlen

During the spring and summer 1990 a dedicated group of north Clare inhabitants as well as individuals outside of north Clare gave generously of their time to ensure a community project became a reality.

The workhouse field close to the primary school in Ballyvaughan became a centre of activity. Being the site of a workhouse it had witnessed a variety of traumatic events from the time the workhouse was established c 1855 to the time of its closure c 1925. No known photograph of the workhouse seems to have survived during those decades of it's existence.

The remaining stone from the workhouse building was adapted to build an animal pound during 1948/49, when Clare county council engaged Lisdoonvarna building contractor, Michael MacNamara to build the animal pound on the edge of the workhouse field, close to the present community clubhouse. One of the staff members engaged by Michael MacNamara was Steven Doolin, Ballyconry before he emigrated to England following completion of the animal pound in 1949.

During the decade previous to1990, Michael Costello and others were engaged with the large removals of mortar and soil by Vincent Murphy, Carrownagariff, south Galway. That work continued until 1985, as the substantial earth movements by Vincent Murphy required time-period to stabilise and also improve the drainage capacity of the relocated mortar and soil.

Following a visit to the workhouse field by John Mulqueen, Tourmakeady, County Mayo who advised that two deep drains be inserted from left to right covering the length of the field area. Those drains were later used to infill the larger stones which surfaced, following a deep plough operation.

From 1985 much excessive vegetation and weeds had grown within the proposed field area. During the spring of 1990 Marian Linnane engaged Jimmy Nolan, Finavarra to apply a chemical spray which permitted further field development. Tony Francis, Muckinish was then engaged to deep plough the decayed vegetation decay, which resulted from the generous gesture of Jimmy Nolan.

A tractor rake was engaged from Ballinruan, Crusheen to remove further layers of stones following the deep ploughing activity. Luckily, on the day of the tractor raking a young Scottish farmer, Duncan from eastern Scotland gave a full day picking the emerging stones from the tractor rake. Duncan happened to be camping within the school-house field and he decided to support this communal activity. Following his day long work, Claire and Marian Linnane generously looked after Duncan's welfare, before he departed the following day to catch the ferry at Killimer on his route to county Kerry.

A tractor was hired for the summer months of 1990 from Jimmy Conneely, Kinvarra. Jimmy's tractor together with the loan of Leonard Culligan's tractor facilitated further removal of soil and limestone rocks. Each morning, Patsy Linnane, Cappanawalla arrived to ensure that both tractors were complete with the required amount of diesel for the day's activities.

Mort OLoughlin also arrived with his tractor to remove emerging stones and he also contacted a midlands farming supplier who provided the specific types of grass seed. The grass seed was applied during the end of the first of September 1990, before the onset of autumnal frosts.

During 1990 a sum of money was gifted to purchase a set of goalposts for the community field. As those goalposts were not ready for insertion in 1990, the sum of money was used to reduce a variety of expenses from grass seed to miscellaneous items which supported the various stages of development.

During an earlier century a visiting Gaelic poet to Ballyvaughan was disenchanted with the lack of welcome he received in the parish. Senan O'Loghlen supplies the quote from the poet - 'Baile Ui Bheachain Gann, Na Teigh Ann Gan Do Dhinnear; Ballyvaughan an ungenerous parish, do not go there without your dinner'!

The generous participation of parishioners and visitors alike during the months of 1990 provide a contrasting viewpoint, where generosity was the hallmark in making the aspirations of those in developing the community field become a reality.

During the Autumn of 1990 a FAS group were engaged to support the outstanding tasks, mainly along the edges of the field, as well as repairing and restoring the perimeter walls and the entrance wall. The members of that FAS group included; Brendan Healy, Turlough, Jimmy Kelly, Kilweelran, Martin Nilan, the village and Desmond Francis, new pier.

edward ologhlen

October 2020

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