Kenmare Golf Club battles back from blaze with new clubhouse planned

According to Colm O’Connor in the Irish Examiner, “The easing of the Government’s lockdown protocols cannot come soon enough for members of Kenmare Golf Club — but not for the reason you think.
Covid-19 restrictions were not the worst nightmare to befall the scenic Kerry course in 2020.
On June 1, their historic clubhouse, which had begun life as a cricket pavilion in India before being transported to Killowen in the 1930s, was significantly damaged in a fire.
A massive fundraising effort swung into action in the months that followed which enabled the club to be on the cusp of constructing a replacement clubhouse on the site of the original structure.
Planning permission was granted in November and negotiations with various contractors began with plans to break ground in early 2021. Then Lockdown III shut down all activity at the golf course. It meant that construction was halted before it even began.
Despite such a series of lockdowns and knockdowns, Kenmare GC PR officer Charlie Vaughan is hugely positive about 2021 and thrilled by the community spirit shown by members in such testing times.
He explained: “The response locally and abroad has been phenomenal and a massive fundraising drive finished just as new building plans were finalised. The new 5,900 square foot facility designed by local firm, Dwellspace, received planning permission in November following extensive consultation with members.
“It will be incredible. It has a fully fitted catering unit, a large bar area with an outside terrace, and changing rooms.”
The overwhelming view amongst both the golfing community and the local community was that the new building should pay homage to the original historic clubhouse.
Vaughan continued: “This new building certainly does that and it’s hoped will provide a catalyst to encourage more people to take up the game of golf in and around Kenmare.
“The outpouring of support from the local community after the fire in June last year was a tremendous boost to the club. The club has found this whole process galvanising. Management hopes to reciprocate that support by ensuring as many local professionals, tradesmen and suppliers are used for the rebuild.”
Though a return to the golf course may still be weeks (if not longer) away, Vaughan reports that the free time is being used productively.
He explained: “Every member has been involved in background work in some form. Kenmare GC is community-owned and run and it is this community and family spirit that has been key to keeping the club alive.”

Community, Sports