*Photograph: John Mangan
A PERFECT storm of developments in Tulla will lead to young families moving to the East Clare parish, it has been claimed.
With a number of housing projects in the offing and a new state-of-the-art secondary school, locals in Tulla believe the village on the windswept hill is becoming a more attractive prospect than ever for young couples to raise their families.
Along with the Main Street being well served by a number of dynamic businesses, Tulla boasts a highly active GAA club, a modern soccer club, an acclaimed Comhaltas Centre, and the newly developed athletics club.
Originally from Longford, Paul Donlon has been in charge of SuperValu Tulla since 2004 and now considers himself “adopted to the West”. With 35 staff members, Supervalu serves as the heartbeat of the village where locals do their weekly shopping. Paul laments that Covid-19 impacted the sociable nature associated with a local shop due to the advent of facemasks and screens however he has seen people’s confidence restored in recent months. “It has turned around thankfully to the way it used to be since Christmas. The local chat seems to be returning and that’s something we built our business on, that we’re friendly and approachable.”
Paul is enthusiastic about the village’s prospects and is encouraged by the current political will to encourage remote working, which he believes can revive rural Ireland. “Tulla was always earmarked as a satellite town for Ennis and there was no building for the last 10 years but now there are three housing estates set to be developed in the next year and a half which is great.”
Liam O’Meara of O’Meara Butchers started trading in the village in 2005. A great success story, O’Mearas have a farm in Flagmount. With a strong focus on freerange and organic, O’Mearas sell their own range of products from beef, egg, sausages, to turkey burgers – “90 per cent of what’s on the counter we make ourselves and we try and source locally as much as possible,” says Liam.
The butcher has been extremely busy during the pandemic and has adjusted their business to tailor for customers ordering over the phone or by whatsapp, to the point where the purchase will be delivered to the boot of the customer’s car without any personal contact being made.
Liam says he’s grateful to be able to trade in Tulla, which he describes as a “thriving village”. “Since I moved in about nine more businesses have opened in the village, the health food shop, hairdressers and few more. We’re very lucky, it’s a tight-knit community. There are a lot of facilities between the handball, soccer, athletics, GAA and the scouts. It’s great to see the new developments too, there’s planning for nearly 200 houses in Tulla and the new secondary school has been the trump card.”
Eugene Cooney of Cooney’s Home and Hardware flags that while he has huge concerns when he sees services such as Bank Of Ireland being removed from Tulla, the overwhelming feeling is one of positivity in the East Clare village. Also alluding to school, housing developments and wide range of clubs including “one of the best soccer clubs in Ireland”, Eugene adds, “Tulla’s a great village – you can get anything you want in Tulla. The Supervalu, chemist, butchers, flower shop, you can get a cup of coffee, a book in the library, an oil burner, a helium balloon, to a bag of cement; it’s all here in Tulla, ourselves included. I do my shopping in Tulla, and I think it is on the way up as a place to live.”