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Community loan for John McGahern Barracks

Situated on the River Boyle, the Roscommon town of Cootehall has entered the literary and popular imagination the world over courtesy of master storyteller and former resident, the novelist John McGahern.
Described as Ireland’s ‘rural elegist’ critics have characterised McGahern’s genius as the power to transform the life of a small, rural town and make it ‘become the whole world.’
The Cootehall of today is a very different place located in a very different country to that which was depicted in McGahern’s work.
But unlike many a rural town, Cootehall continues to grow and expand, its population expanding and school enrolment up significantly over recent years.
Residents have worked tirelessly over the years to develop local amenities and promote Cootehall’s rich historic and literary heritage, be it the association with McGahern or the 18th century Castle Coote, from which the town takes its name.
Legend has it that a ghost from Cromwellian times haunts the upper storey of a tower attached to the historic house.
Over 10 years ago, the efforts of local residents paid off handsomely as they secured possession of the 100 year old garda barracks that is closely associated with McGahern’s work and life.
Cootehall Community Development Group was subsequently established to drive and coordinate the growing number of local initiatives and enhancement projects. This has seen the town regularly participation in the annual Tidy Towns competition, new landscaping works, the installation of decorative lighting across the village and the opening of the Barracks Garden Park and Playground.
Attention turned to the unpolished heritage gem in their midst - the old Garda Barracks - and plans drawn up for its renovation. This involved a new community space, seminar rooms to host literary and heritage events and a Reading Room dedicated to John McGahern.
However, the ambitious plans lacked sufficient funding and the Cootehall Community Development Group turned to Clann Credo. With our support this valuable local initiative has now been brought to fruition, delivering both economic and wider social benefits to the people of Cootehall.

Location: Cootehall


"Attention turned to the unpolished heritage gem in their midst - the old Garda Barracks - and plans drawn up for its renovation."