National Enterprise Town Awards: Kilrush

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Kilrush in Co Clare.

Kilrush is located in southwest Clare, less than 2km north of the banks of the Shannon Estuary.

As one of the main service towns in Clare, Kilrush holds administrative functions and provides services and amenities to its residents and those from surrounding areas.

Kilrush is a fine example of a planned market town, and owes this distinct planning and architectural heritage and character to the patronage of the Dutch Vandeleur family, and its function as a port and market town. Kilrush is a designated Heritage Town of Ireland, one of only fifteen towns nationally.

The total population of the settlement of Kilrush is 2,719 persons, with 1,303 (48pc) being male and 1,416 (52pc) being female. Census data from 2016 indicates that 18pc of the population of Kilrush are aged 15 years or younger, or 555 persons, while 583 people are aged 65 or over.

Combined, this amounts to 1,138 people, out of a total of 2,719, considered dependent. In other words, 42pc of the population of Kilrush are classified as dependent. As different age groups possess different needs, this information is important for understanding social and economic development issues, and planning for future success

Economic and Social enterprise initiatives underway include:

  • Scattery Island Tours
  • The Vandeleur Walled Gardens
  • The Museum of Irish Rural Life
  • Kilrush Marina & Boatyard
  • Rigney Engineering
  • Saint Gobain Performance Plastics
  • Kilrush Community Garden

In May 2019, Kilrush Town Team held an event to launch their three-year Community Strategy. Over 70 people were in attendance in which Kilrush Town Team carried out skills needs analysis which has allowed it to pinpoint skills gaps within the town, in particular for retail and business owners.

Following on from this Kilrush Town Team have engaged with the Local Enterprise Office, Clare with a view to running training programmes, such as: ‘Start your own business programme, ‘Social Media Bootcamp , ‘1 Day Management Development and ‘Financial Mentoring: One to One Clinics .

Kilrush Town Team’s Community Strategy outlines key goals under five thematic pillars; Enterprise; Tourism; Public Realm & Environment; Community & Education; and, Amenity & Sport. Each theme had a Lead or Champion who is responsible for one Thematic Group, which will be made up of members of the community with a specific interest in the group topic, for example environment, Tidy Towns, education, tourism, recreation and sport, business and enterprise, arts, culture and heritage, and community. The Thematic Group has a specific objective to develop targeted actions, timeline for delivery, identification of supporting partners, and projected lifespan.

Main image: Irish Fireside via Flickr and licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Published by John Kennedy (

Published: 14 October, 2019