KILBEHENNY LOCALS CELEBRATES GETTING THEIR STREET BACK
‘The sound of silence’ - this is how the locals in Kilbehenny are reacting to the new calmness and tranquility that has descended upon their village as a result of the opening of the new Mitchelstown-Cashel bypass.
Kilbehenny straddles the border of Cork and Limerick and, for the first time in over 40 years, neighbours and friends can have a friendly chat from the other side of the road. The children who walk around Kilbehenny today can now enjoy the safety and ease of movement that was once the privilege of their grandparents.
“It’s like a different village,” Niamh McGrath, a local newsagent told The Avondhu, “The traffic, noise and the dirt is gone.” The road opening has had one adverse effect, however. “It’s a lot quieter in terms of business, we have noticed a dip even in the few days since it opened,” she added.
Noel Bradfield of The Three Counties Inn said that it was too early to tell if the new route has affected business, but welcomed the change in traffic through Kilbehenny.
“It’s a pleasure to drive in and out to the pub now. There’s no comparison with what we had before; it has been great for the village and has been welcomed by the people here,” he said. The impact of the new road has made a good first impression on Moss Fitzgerald.
“So far there’s great relief and benefit because of the road,” he said this week, “crossing the road has certainly been made a lot easier. There is still a little bit of traffic passing through, which is a good thing. There’s no chance the place will become a ghost town.”
Moss said that the local committee in the community centre knew the moment the road opened. “We were preparing for the night ahead on Friday afternoon when the usual noise and traffic outside stopped all of a sudden. The silence just hit us.”
Moss further believes that the bypass will draw people back to the village who were previously put off from socialising in Kilbehenny because of the heavy traffic. “I’ve been talking to older members of committees in Kilbehenny this week and they don’t think the village has seen crowds like we had last weekend since the funeral of John Mandeville.”
Overall the first week since the new N8 Cashel/Mitchelstown Scheme opened the people of Kilbehenny have adapted to the new flow throughout their village with a sense of optimism.
As Moss remarked, “It will be good for the village in the next few years, there’s no doubt about that.”
Thursday 31st July 7:07pm