Tourmakeady Tourism Office
The former Garda station in Tourmakeady has been functioning as a tourist and business office since 2014, and recently underwent a comprehensive energy retrofit. But looking back, in the December 2011 budget it was one of four Mayo stations announced to be closed under public expenditure cost-saving measures at that time. The other three in Mayo were Glenisland, Mulranny, and Bellacorrik Garda stations, as part of 39 nationwide Garda station closures announced.
While the Tourmakeady closure was disappointing for the local community, all was not lost. In February 2014, there was further news that Mayo Garda stations at Tourmakeady, Mulranny, and Ballycastle would be among 13 nationwide which the OPW (Office of Public Works) would provide for use by the community under the Government’s disposal policy for decommissioned stations.
In Tourmakeady that same month, a community group called Coiste Cultúr Teanga agus Forbartha Thuar Mhic Éadaigh Teo received the keys for the station from then Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who commended their plans for revitalising the Irish language and for their work promoting tourism and local business.
Built in the early 1990s, the Garda station was made of typical construction materials of the period – cavity block walls with plastered coating, double glazed windows, but without any ceiling or internal insulation. Night store heaters provided the only warmth.
For two years from the handover of keys in 2014 the building hosted the supervisor of the TUS community employment scheme. It also doubled as a tourist office to inform about and promote the beauty of Tourmakeady and surrounds. It has retained Fáilte Ireland registration as a tourist info point ever since, providing brochures, booklets, maps and other printed material, and a striking large poster on the outside wall of ‘Mayo – the Adventure Capital’.
From January 2020 to the present the building has strengthened its tourism role by being the office of the Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark www.joycecountrygeoparkproject.ie . In November 2021, an application was submitted to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational and Scientific Cooperation Organisation) for Global Geopark status, which is due to be assessed during 2022, and hopefully will be approved in 2023. Tourmakeady’s community development organisations are strong supporters of the geopark initiative and its office base in the village.
In autumn 2021, the office building underwent an extensive retrofit, with support of SEAI’s Community Energy Grant, Coiste Cultúr Teanga agus Forbartha Thuar Mhic Éadaigh, the Tourmakeady Sustainable Energy Community (TMÉ SEC) and the contractor Clár ICH. New triple-glazed windows and a new energy efficient door were installed, with attic and cavity wall insulation also provided. Out went the night store heaters, replaced by a 5kW air to water heat pump with control system feeding five radiators, including office, hall, toilet and entrance. There were already six PV panels on the south facing roof providing solar generated electricity. The BER rating will be available soon.
The retrofitted old Garda station is now a warm and cosy business office, fit for purpose ... and very energy efficient.