Kinawley is a special village where there is a strong community spirit, a competitive business market and a unique way of life.

Whether you’re taking in a visit to Mullan Mart, a match at McManus Park or a pint at Roches’s Bar, there is a relaxed way of life in the area.

Locals commented on the spectacular natural beauty of the area, its resilient farming community and the friendliness of the village.

“Anyone who visits us is always taken away by the scenery,” said one woman.

Like many villages in the county, Kinawley is without a bank – instead, a once-a-week service of the Kinawley branch of the Enniskillen Credit Union serves as a vital service for the area.

Shiela McManus (née Roche), a teller in the Credit Union, explained how the late-night service for the financial institution is convenient for many people, even those not from the village.

Sheila McManus, Credit Union, Kinawley Office.

Sheila McManus, Credit Union, Kinawley Office.

‘Handy for Enniskillen’

“It is handy for Enniskillen, as we are late night [opening], and some people do come out from Enniskillen, or someone might be coming back from working in Derrylin, and they have to be present to pick up a loan.”

She says that while the demand for the service is not what it once was, it still plays a vital role for the community in this rural part of Fermanagh.

“We have every age coming to the Credit Union; it covers all ages, children can open up an account, every age can, and once they get to 18 they can get a loan.”

There is a wide range of services offered and they were summed up by Mrs. McManus in a single sentence: “This is for our members, it is the people’s bank.”

Mrs. McManus moved to the area 40 years ago from Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary, while still in school and Kinawley is now her home.

She said: “Coming to Kinawley was lovely – the people were so friendly, and so welcoming; we are so blessed with the people of Kinawley.

“Even from working in the bar and everything, they are just so pleasant.”

She reflected on a community that sticks together in hard times and noted that she “couldn’t say anything bad about Kinawley”.

On a clear January afternoon, with an almost perfect winter’s afternoon to take in, she noted: “I would say it is a peaceful place to live in; the landscape is lovely.

“Where I live, I look out the window. I can see way up the mountain, the windmills; I just love where I live. The view is just so beautiful.”

Mrs. McManus praised the amenities on offer in the area: “We have a good football club, a good community hall, a good post office and a shop.”

Glenda Curry, Deevo.

Glenda Curry, Deevo.

Business profile

In reference to the business profile of the local area, she said: “You’re depending on local people; other places might depend on visitors, so you are relying on local people.”

The village is home to an enterprise centre with several units, and inside one is the relaxing setting of DEEVO Beauty and Skin Clinic.

The clinic is operated by Glenda Curry, who The Impartial Reporter found busy moving boxes while the salon was closed.

Mrs. Curry was making preparations for a planned expansion as she hopes to rent out rooms in the clinic to other beauty professionals.

Explaining why she chose to open in Kinawley, Mrs Curry said: “There was no beauty [service] around here.

“I was originally down where the café was, and then I moved up to this unit, and we are now looking to rent out rooms here.”

The beauty therapist praised the enterprise centre, adding: “The good thing about here is there is loads and loads of parking, and it is all free parking.”

Reflecting on the village of Kinawley itself, she said: “There is a good community spirit in Kinawley. It is a very welcoming town.

“It is its own wee village; it is its own wee area where people settle into.”

Mrs. Curry explained that the area benefits from cross-Border trade, and that she has several cross-Border customers.

“It is good, because you are close to the Border, and you get the trade from the likes of Swad, Bawnboy, even up as far as Ballyconnell, you get people down.”

Wayne Curry.

Wayne Curry.

Cross-Border trade

Elsewhere in the enterprise centre was businessman Wayne Curry, who praised the area and, again, like others, he noted the benefits of cross-Border trade in the area.

Mr. Curry said: “Kinawley is a hub for cross-Border trade. Kinawley benefits from its location adjacent to many tourist attractions, located just off a national route, and it is convenient to both Cavan and Enniskillen.

“Kinawley has a few established international companies; American-Italian company ARCA ships cash automation machines all around the world, and components for car parking machines, as well as Internorm.”

He noted that the area has seen some buzz as a result of tourist attractions in the wider vicinity of southwest Fermanagh

Mr. Curry added: “Kinawley is increasingly becoming a destination for tourists.

“It is because of Cuilcagh, the boardwalk, Florence Court, the Marble Arch Caves – there are a few other things, such as the geopark,” he said.

One striking feature of the village is the magnificent Old Barracks located at Main Street.

It was built in 1820 and served as the local police station until 1921, and in its later years was purchased by the Maguire family. The building is now protected by the Monuments Association.

Martin Maguire, who lives in the old RIC Barricks in Kinawley.

Martin Maguire, who lives in the old RIC Barricks in Kinawley.

Sympathetically restored

It has been sympathetically restored by Martin Maguire, who detailed some of the history of the building and what was uncovered during a major renovation work.

“Any artefacts we found, we kept”, he explained.

“We found lots – we found blank bullets from back in the day, we found what turned out to be radio batteries, and we found old toothpaste jars,” he said.

He revealed the home apparently has another resident at times – a ghost, claimed to be a monk carrying a candle.

Mr. Maguire admitted he has not seen the ghost, but said others have.

“My brother has seen it, and a young guy who stayed here before the work was done also saw it – both sober, by the way,” he laughed.

Turning to more earthly matters, a well which was one of the first sources of water in the village now forms part of the kitchen, and some elderly residents of the village have told Mr. Maguire that they can remember travelling to the well as schoolchildren to retrieve water.

Mr. Maguire, like others, reflected on the quiet and welcoming life that the area offers.

“Kinawley is quiet, and it’s home for me. It is very peaceful, quiet and nice – a place for a quiet life,” he added.