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This community profile is a snapshot of Donoughmore on 15/03/11

The following piece of work was carried out by:
Síle Kelleher, Rathcoola, Donoughmore

This community profile is a snapshot of Donoughmore on 15/03/11.
This was completed as a piece of course work on the Youth and Community Work Diploma, UCC.


This assignment consists of a community profile of my local parish Donoughmore, Co. Cork.  In this assignment I shall outline the geographical area of Donoughmore, I will summarise a general history and development of the parish. I will examine the current local population to the best of my ability and examine employment opportunities in the parish.   I shall endeavour to catalogue the community’s resources, identify and describe the community’s needs and devise an action plan to meet some of these needs.

Geographical Area.

Donoughmore parish is a rural area comprising of 32 town lands over an area of 90.28 Km2. Donoughmore Cross is located at the centre of the parish.  Taking this as a starting point Donoughmore is situated 15km North West of Blarney.  It is within commuting distance from commercial hubs lying 21 Km south west of Mallow, 24 Km north east of Macroom and 26 Km North West of Cork City.

Brief History and Development of Donoughmore Parish.

In Donoughmore there are a large range of historical sites such as stone circles and ring forts (Ordnance Survey Ireland, 2006) this shows that people have formed communities in Donoughmore since the Stone Age to the present day.  Saint Lachtín had a church here and the story goes that it as a result of this church that the parish got its name ‘Domhnach Mór’ or big church (Healen, 2003).  From this church also came the shrine of St. Lachtín’s arm which currently is on display in the National Museum of Ireland.  Where the ruins of this church stand today is known as Donoughmore cross and was once the site of the RIC barracks (J. O’Connell, personal communication, 17th February, 2011).  Today there are two public houses located at this cross.

Donoughmore was connected by light rail to Cork but this service was discontinued in 1934.  However, it led to the expansion of Donoughmore in terms of services with shops and lodgings being built to provide for the floating teams who were working on the rail line (J. O’Connell, personal communication, 17th February, 2011). The two rail stops in Donoughmore which are still viable centres today are Firmount and New Tipperary.  

Firmount currently has a shop, the dairygold co-op store and a primary school. New Tipperary grew from being a fair-field at the time of the railway line; there was also a mill, two shops and a garage (J. O’Connell, personal communication, 17th February, 2011).  Today the mill is a public house with a combined off-licence and DVD rental shop. There is also a garage in here.

Stuake used to be the site of the parish fair until the fair moved down the hill to New Tipperary (J. O’Connell, personal communication, 17th February, 2011). There have been a lot of developments over the years in Stuake. It is the site of the community centre and sports complex, the Garda station, the second of the parish shops, the second of the parish primary schools, the post office and a glass recycling bank. Stuake has one of the parish Roman Catholic (R.C.) Church’s. The second parish R.C. church is in Fornaught which also is the site of the newly opened family resource centre, and a public house.

According to the draft Blarney electoral area local area plans (2010) Stuake, Donoughmore Cross, New Tipperary, Firmount and Fornaught are the designated village nuclei of Donoughmore Parish.  These experienced limited growth over the Celtic Tiger years gaining a total of 17 new dwelling units (Draft Blarney Electoral Area Local Area Plan, 2010).   

Local Population.

In 2006 the population of Donoughmore was 2392 an increase of 16% since 2002 (C.S.O., 2006).

According to the current register of electors (February 2011) there are 1960 people eligible to vote in the Donoughmore area.  This area comprises of three electoral divisions, Gowlane, Kilcullen and Firmount.  Since 2006 there have been 204 baptisms in the Parish and 69 funerals (Fr. O’Riordan, personal communication, 19th February 2011). Primary schools have 270 enrolled students (D. Kelleher, personal communication, 4th March 2010). There is no secondary school in Donoughmore but students from Donoughmore primary schools would generally attend secondary school in Coachford and Blarney. There is currently approximately 124 students from Donoughmore attending Coachford Community College (J. O’Connell, personal communication 9th March 2011) and 14 students in Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney (M. O’Sullivan, personal communication, 9th March, 2011).  

This would estimate that there are 2572 people in the parish.  It must be highlighted here however that not every child living in Donoughmore attends local primary schools or goes to secondary school in Coachford and Blarney.  This figure also does not take into account those who are on the register of electors but currently are not living in the parish having moved away for work or other reasons. 2572 therefore is a rough estimation of the current population of Donoughmore. This is an increase of 7.5% since 2006.

It can be deduced that 8% of the parish population are under four years of age. 10% are between the ages of four and eleven. 5% are between the ages of 11 and 17. The remaining 76% of the parish population is over the age of 18 years.  The 2006 census figures shall have to be examined for a further demographic breakdown.  In 2006, 21% of the population were between the ages of 20 and 34, 34% were between 35 and 59 years and 12% were over the age of 60.

Employment Opportunities in the Parish of Donoughmore.

The economic base of Donoughmore is primarily founded on and around agriculture.  In the last agricultural census in 2000 there were 126 farms in Donoughmore (C.S.O.).  These are predominantly dairy farms with some mixed grazing livestock. Donoughmore has a variety of agricultural contractors who spread slurry, cut silage, do ploughing etc. There is also a Dairygold Co-Op. store directly employing 6 people and their haulage work is subcontracted out (personal communication, 2nd March 2011).  

One of the subcontractors used by DairyGold for collecting the farmers’ milk has their company based in Donoughmore. This company ‘O Regan Transport Ltd.’ currently employs 25 people (P. O’Regan, personal communication, 4th March 2011).  Forde Products Cork Ltd. is based in Donoughmore specialising in building farm and industrial buildings. This company currently employs 12 people (M. Forde, personal communication, 4th March 2011). Cork Farm Relief Ltd. would also provide employment in Donoughmore for example with farmers taking on extra help.

Donoughmore is the base for a domestic and international transport company D. J. Downey Ltd. This company employs approximately 30 people (M. Downey, personal communication, 3rd March 2011).

The Donoughmore Family Resource Centre employs 15 people on a full time and part time basis.  Currently this centre is focussed on providing care for children up to 6th class. This service includes day care, pre-school and after school activities with roughly 90 children currently using this facility. A counselling service is also available on request (E. O’Hanlon, personal communication 9th March 2011).

Donoughmore also has a variety of small businesses such as lawn-mowing and hedge-cutting, general building contractors, fireplace provider, plant and machinery sales and repair services, public houses,  child minders, hairdressers, beauticians, physiotherapist, mechanics and people working from home via the internet (S. Kelleher, personal communication, 6th March 2011).

Community Resources.

Firmount Shop
Stuake Shop
Post office

Recreation and Leisure
Four Public Houses
GAA club
Donoughmore Ladies Football Club
Cork Druids Baseball Club
Donoughmore Basketball Club
Irish Tae Kwon Do
Donoughmore Tug O War Club
Dancing classes
Hare Coursing
Road Bouling
Donoughmore Vintage Club
Macra ne Feirme
Ladies Social Club
Over 55’s club

Donoughmore Youth Club
Family Resource Centre
Phil Looney’s Créche

Active Retirement group
Community alert group fits alarms for those living alone, and over 65.
Home Help

St. Lachteens National School
St. Josephs National School
Family resource centre – pre-school programme
FÁS Community Employment Scheme where educational training is an integral part of the work participants do in the community.

An Garda Síochána
Peace Commissioner – as only one Garda in Donoughmore these people also have the responsibility to sign and stamp forms.
Community Alert

Doctors surgery held in the community centre two days a week
Chiropody clinic held once a month in the community centre

Irish Farmers Association

R. C. Church
Legion of Mary
Prayer Group
Grave yards

Bus Éireann runs a very limited service from Donoughmore to Cork City, Monday to Friday. Due to Governmental budget cuts the weekend bus service from Donoughmore to Cork was discontinued.
DART – IRD Duhallow Area Rural Transport initiative.  Every Thursday from Firmount to Mallow and return.
Private bus service provided to local national schools and to secondary schools in Coachford and Blarney

Community Centre, Sports Complex and Fr. Condon memorial field

This area is managed by Donoughmore Community Council Ltd. who is actively involved in the parish aiming to increase its range of facilities. They are currently working on a project to redevelop the community centre and to put a fully accessible solar lighted walkway around the field so that members of the community can have a safe place to walk.
Bring bank for glass
Sports complex and Fr. Condon memorial field are where all the Donoughmore community sporting activities take place outside of the GAA.
The community centre hall and sports complex are also where many of the groups meet as the space can be rented out for a minimal fee e.g. youth club.
After parish funerals a catering committee come together and do food for the mourners in the community centre hall which is situated across from the graveyard and St. Lachteens Church, Stuake.
Donoughmore Carnival held every year here; this is the main fundraiser for the community council in the year.

Community Needs.

Elderly service provision - apart form the services outlined above the elderly in Donoughmore are very badly served.  There is no day care centre in proximity to the parish and no meals on wheels service delivers in Donoughmore. Currently I estimate that 12% of the parish population are over 65 years of age.  

According to the ‘Population Ageing in Ireland Projections 2002 – 2021’ report the number of older persons in Ireland is set to increase dramatically.  By 2021 65% of those aged 75 and over will be living alone.  As a direct result of this there will be a high demand for elderly services to help these.

As there is also a dearth of elderly facilities in the surrounding areas of Donoughmore e.g. Coachford, Aghabullogue, Dripsey, Kilmurry and Rylane these could feed into a day care facility set up in Donoughmore.

Drop in youth centre – people attend the youth club up to 3rd year then there is no other service provision for them in Donoughmore, other than sport, until the Macra can be joined at 17.

Road infrastructure – this has suffered as a result of government cutbacks.  

The recently built Donoughmore family resource centre currently provides for those under 12.  This could be developed further to provide a parent and toddler group. They could also provide a community information service e.g. on social welfare entitlements and referrals, health related issue information and advice and to provide information on personal and family budgeting.  These services are currently lacking in Donoughmore.

Action Plan.

The main need I will focus on is meeting the need for elderly provision in the Parish i.e. the building of a day care centre for the elderly which could also be used as a youth centre in the evenings after the elderly have gone home.  This would make full use of the facility and meet more than one need in the parish.

Donoughmore Community Council have currently applied for planning permission and funding to renovate the community centre in Stuake.

Year One
Meet with the community council.  Propose that planning permission designs be altered to include a day care centre for the elderly as an integral part of the community centre.  This would be an ideal location as it is located right at the centre of the parish, is on a flat area, the church, shop and post office are in close proximity. It would also help get maximum use from the centre.
Contact elderly who currently like to have a meals on wheels service. Inform IRD Duhallow who have said that if there is a minimum of two people they will organise for their service to come out to Donoughmore (H. O’ Sullivan, personal communication, 2nd March 2011).
Carry out further feasibility studies in Donoughmore and surrounding areas.
Visit other day care centres to see how they are designed.
Research all legislation pertinent to the project e.g. HIQUA guidelines.
Draw up plans for the centre
Research funding application options e.g. national lottery, HSE and IRD Duhallow with the LEADER rural development programme.
Determine how much money is needed for the project
Apply for funding and planning permission
Extensive fundraising carried out

Year Two
Renovate and extend community centre using local contractors
Start a list of those wishing to avail of the service
Sketch bus collection routes and outline daily plans for the day centre. How it can be used as a youth drop in centre in the evening.
Advertise and interview for staff
Paint and fit out the centre with necessary equipment, furniture and fittings

Year Three
Open centre
Work on issues as they arise
Have the centre fully functional serving both the elderly and the youth. Youth can be encouraged to volunteer and get involved with activities in the elderly care.

Year Four
Evaluate the running of the centre
Identify success’ and problems of the centre
Implement strategies to meet problems with the centre

Year Five
Research the need for social housing in Donoughmore and local areas
Approach the Parish Priest and Cloyne if they would let the disused Curate’s house and large site adjacent to the church in Stuake be used for this project.  This site is located across the road the community centre.  This idea was investigated in the parish 19 years ago but as there was a lack of interest by the people of the parish it died a natural death (M. Kennedy, personal communication, 6th March 2011).
Apply for funding and planning permission etc. as for the day care centre.

List of References

Ordnance Survey Ireland. (2006) Discovery Series 80, Cork, 1:50,000, Dublin, Ordnance Survey Ireland.
Central Statistics Office (2006) Census 2006, Cork, Ireland.
Central Statistics Office (2000) Agriculture Census 2000, Cork, Ireland.
Corcoran, S. (2011) Register of Electors, Cork, Cork County Council.
Healen, L. (2003) Donoughmore Remembers Journal of Times Past Volume One, Cork, Donoughmore Historical and Writers Group.
-------------- (2006) Donoughmore Remembers Journal of Times Past Volume Two, Cork, Donoughmore Historical and Writers Group.
National Council on Ageing and Older People, (2004), Population Ageing in Ireland Projections 2002 – 2021, [online], available: http://www.dohc.ie/publications.pdf/pop_proj.pdf?direct=1 [accessed 15th December 2010].