Gathabawn is a small rural, scenic and tranquil Co Kilkenny village and community; nested in North West Kilkenny at the foot of the Spa and Binnena Hills, Co Kilkenny and Cullohill Mountain Co. Laois
Gathabawn comprises of three Electoral Districts (ED’s) Balleen, Glashare (part of) and Lisdowney No. 1 (part of). It is an out parish of the Lisdowney Parish. Gathabawn Rural Area spans an area from the top Spa Hill to Knockmannon across to Cullohill Mountain and Ballybrophy Cross to Beggercross and Glashare Cross on the N7 (Old Cork Dublin road)
Population 310 approx (65 households) local studies and surveys
Gathabawn Rural Development Council (GRDG) has evolved over the years to becoming a fully fledged Community Council earlier this year
Gathabawn Rural Development Council was formed as Gathabawn Rural Development Group in 1998 merging the Ordination Committee, Community Alert other local groups and representatives from farming bodies with the assistance of Kilkenny County Council, BNS Leader, Teagasc, Community Alert, and UCD
The Group works closely with the local community and all the local Strategy Agencies
Gathabawn as a group has produced and implemented from the bottom up plans the evidence of which is widely seen around Gathabawn, covering community empowerment, road\infrastructure improvements, history heritage. Community involvement is the corner stone to all our achievements:
- Gathabawn Area Plan 1998 (Kilkenny Co Council
- Summer Jobs Scheme 1999/2000
- Gathabawn Needs Survey 2002
- Gathabawn 2011 Plan presently in preparation
- Electric and Telephone Wires Project (1998 / 2002)
Local Community Kilkenny Co. Council, ESB, Eircom
- Annual Amenity Improvements 1999 / 2011 Kilkenny Co Council
- Annual Tidy Towns Competition, 2000 / 2011
- Anti Litter and National Spring Clean
- Computer Classes Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown, BNS, VEC
- Identification & Erection Historic Place names in stone (English & Irish)
- Gathabawn Millennium Natural Woodland Park,
(Coillte, Kilkenny Co Council, BNS Leader) 2000 / 2010
- Coolcashin & Tifeaghna Graveyard Heritage Studies,
(Heritage Council, Kilkenny Co. Council)
- Walks establishment (1998 ongoing projects) BNS Leader, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Failte Ireland, IFA, Local Farmers. Binnena\Gathabawn Walk has been approved by Failte Ireland
- Rural Social Scheme (2004 / 2011)
The Freshford District Credit Union District Establishment, Joint initiative with Freshford, Gathabawn and neighbouring rural areas (2003), UCD, Credit Union Ireland, & Local Credit Unions leading to the Establishment of Freshford & Districts Savings Bank
Gathabawn is known for the Annual St Stephens Day Sponsored Walk in its 12th Year
Launch and walk on Easter Sunday 2011 the McGoillaPhadraig Way (17Km Walk from Durrow to Gathabawn) Annual Event joint initiative with South Laois Tourism
The Rural Transport initiative Ring A Link is one of great interest to the Gathabawn group, as with all developments in the areas, our secretary coordinator Paddy Fitzpatrick is very involved. Paddy is Chairman of Kilkenny Transport Steering Group and Board member of Ring A Link representing Gathabawn and the greater North West Kilkenny area.
Gathabawn Rural Development is an active member of The North West Kilkenny Development Group which is affiliated to and has representatives on the Kilkenny County Community and Voluntary Forum, SPC’s (Social Strategic Policy Committee’s) and EAC (Expanded Area Committee) Kilkenny Transport Working Group Ring A Link and The Board of Ring A Link.
The Group is part of the recently formed South Laois\North Kilkenny Tourism Development Group. The group are strong advocates of networking and working in local partnership with other local communities. This allows Gathabawn work jointly on projects not only to benefit Gathabawn but wider communities.
Presently the Group are planning for the future, writing local development plans based on results of the 2011 Muintir Na Tire Local Area Survey
To continue our networking and with the help of Muintir Na Tire build stronger networks links across a wide range of communities, training and other suitable areas
Tidy Towns\Spring Clean
The Group will continue to enter the Annual Tidy Towns, finding it a very good source of advice and method of community involvement and interaction with the hope of one day claiming the National Award
Infrastructure Improvement, of the roads and IT\Broadband systems in the area, the restoration and development of the Spa Hill Viewing Point. The Landscaping of the area surrounding the telephone and satellite masts. Signage and Interpretive panels across the area suitable to the Heritage of the area with Kilkenny Co Council
Development and Restoration of Spa Viewing Point, Development of the local area known as Tubber Na Suil with owner, local community and statuary agencies.
Walks Development; with local community Failte Ireland, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Developing the McGoilla Phadraig Way (17Km Walk from Durrow to Gathabawn) Annual Event joint initiative with South Laois Tourism and other suitable tourism projects.
Local History & Heritage,
Training on Graveyard Recording with Local Community, Heritage Council and Kilkenny Co. Council; A Joint Parish involvement publishing a History of Lisdowney Parish; Developing proposals for Tubber Na Suil.
The group are liaising with Muintir Na Tire, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, SEI and Local VEC on an Employment Enterprise establishment training & development pilot project based around the TUS Programme and the Warmer Homes Scheme. Creating new ways to create locally based jobs e.g. the opportunity to roll out the water metering programme. On going development of the (RSS) Rural Social Scheme to establish viable rural holdings and enterprises across rural communities.
Youth & Sport
Working with local Sports Clubs\facilities in the area in respond to needs of local youth and their families; Lisdowney GAA, Kilkenny Sports Partnership, All weather Pitch Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown