FARRAN village is on the way back!
That’s the message going out loud and clear to locals and visitors alike, with the opening of two new businesses in the village in recent weeks.
The little West Cork village, off the main Cork to Killarney road, has suffered badly in recent times, with the closure of one business after another, during the recession.
In 2012 the post office closed, and this was closely followed by the closure of a local shop, two pubs and then a hairdresser’s.
Locals felt their village had effectively ‘closed down’ and was in serious decline.
But this year looks set to be a turning point for the village, best known for its stunning woodland walks.
Business partners Maureen Jackson and Reg Halligan opened their smart new shop, Kahlo & Apfel, last Friday.
Kahlo & Apfel is a vintage/retro clothing and jewellery shop – part of the current trend for vintage styles which has seen huge interest in a retro revival.
‘I’m from Farran myself and I was interested in doing something in this area. I knew Maureen from her Hummingbird Room shop, and various fashion shows,’ Reg told The Southern Star.
At the moment the shop is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11am, and Friday afternoons. ‘It’s a great location,’ said Reg, of the former hairdresser’s. ‘And parking is no problem for customers!’
The girls believe that being close to the main Cork to Killarney is also a great asset, with plenty of passing trade.
As well as sales, the shop also offers rental options on certain items, like hats and statement jewellery.
But that’s not the only good news for Farran recently. The former Post Office building has also had a new lease of life.
Bridie’s café and shop opened its doors within the last fortnight, much to the delight of locals who now have somewhere handy for their provisions.
Local woman Claire Cronin and her brother Tim O’Leary revamped the property and, with the help of Claire’s daughter, Kim, and Tim’s son, Colin, they run the business between them.
As well as having the local shop ‘revived’, Farran residents also have somewhere to chat over a coffee or scone, thanks to the new café.
‘I’m from here and Farran had always been a vibrant place, but when the two pubs closed, I knew they would never open again,’ Claire told The Southern Star. ‘And yet I felt there was fierce potential here.’
Claire explained that there is now a popular zip wire course in Farran woods, which is also the location of the Natinal Rowing Centre. ‘It’s like the Croke Park of rowing,’ she said, adding the area also has a national school, creche and montesssori school.
As there is a special autism unit attached to the school, some parents are travelling long distances to get there, and for the past few years, there was nowhere for them to pick up any refreshments.
The shop is named after Claire and Tom’s mother Bridie, who passed away when they were young, and it is also the name of the nearby River Bride.
Claire, who has a background in sales, said she had never undertaken any venture like this before. ‘I did some waitressing in the US, but this is very new for me, but then we grew up in a house where there was always homebaking,’ she recalled.
‘We seem to be tipping along nicely now, and we haven’t even got as far as putting our signs out on the main road yet!’
Claire and Tim have further plans for the development of the café, but are taking it ‘one day at a time’ for now.
In the meantime, Farran is basking in the glory of being ‘back in business’.