Pat Murphy's Tearooms
Client - Ederney Community Development Trust
Rural Village Revival - from tobacconists to well-being hub
The former Pat Murphy’s tea rooms and tobacconists in Ederney, County Fermanagh, was built around 1840, and has historically formed an important gathering place for this small rural village. It retains many original details such as multi-paned shop windows, narrow double doors, an ashlar chimney stack and natural slate roof, all of which contribute to its early Victorian character. It is very unusual for commercial buildings of this quality to have survived almost intact, and its rarity led to the recent listing designation. The building was derelict for many years, along with the (now also listed) privately owned Post Office building next door. However, despite their deteriorating condition, the group has formed a pleasant rural village streetscape which, in many places across Northern Ireland, is changing fast.
The Pat Murphy House is owned by the Credit Union and leased to Ederney Community Development Trust. The Trust, which also manages the historic Townhall, seeks to relieve poverty and promote the development of the community, through the provision of facilities in the interests of social welfare. They identified a wide range of community needs as part of an extensive consultation, carried out as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Resilient Heritage supported work in 2017, and decided that the building should become a mini-museum and tourist accommodation.
AHF became involved in the project in the following year, when it had begun to work with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Department of Communities Historic Environment (DfC HED) on the innovative Village Catalyst capital funding pilot programme. The pilot aims to tackle issues arising from rural poverty and social isolation through the re-use of historic buildings at risk and AHF was charged with identifying and shaping suitable projects.
AHF awarded a Project Viability Grant to the Trust to fund an architectural feasibility study and business plan, which was matched by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. They also benefitted from a Project Development Grant and intensive advice from the AHF’s Support Officer. This combination of grant aid and guidance helped to move the project on to the next stage of investment readiness and resulted in a shift from their concept for a museum and accommodation, to a centre for well-being, with co-working spaces in the outbuildings to the rear. This would provide critical therapy services and prevent unnecessary commutes to Belfast and Dublin, thus strengthening community cohesion and fitting in with the Village Catalyst requirements. This seed funding and support enabled the Trust to secure £200,000 from the Village Catalyst pilot, £250,000 from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and £50,000 from the Credit Union.
Works began on site in January 2020 and are due to complete in the Summer/Autumn. This is an increasingly important project, which demonstrates the power of small – the extraordinary in the ordinary. The revival of a derelict listed building in the heart of Ederney, driven by partnerships in government and on the ground, is set to boost the well-being of the whole village and the wider area, and to inspire other projects to get to the heart of what their community really needs.
About Ederney Community Development Trust
Ederney Community Development Trust was established in the early 1990s to promote the development of Ederney village which has a population of 587. The Trust regenerated its membership early in 2017 in order to address economic and social decline and the challenges caused by Brexit, social isolation and poverty. The Trust has a strong track record over the last forty years of delivering on projects and initiatives including capital projects and manages Ederney Town hall for Fermanagh Omagh District Council.
Project Viability Grant (PVG 341): £5,000
Project Development Grant (PDG 560): £5,000
DAERA/DfC via Village Catalyst pilot: £200,000
Credit Union: £36,400