Let me start with this: black pudding. Go on,
On a hired bike below recycling skies
Through a place with a vision for everyone
And the black pudding. Yes; let’s advertise
And spread abroad sustainability, an idea
Powered by a solar panel, lit by an LED light
And a project as simple, practical and clear
As rows and rows of cabbages growing tight
In a community garden: as the endless sea
Renews itself each day across the shining beach
This town will sustain itself. This is Clonakilty:
Let’s learn from the things it has to teach.
And listen: my pulse is racing, my heart’s thudding
At the thought of an epic Clonakilty black pudding!

Clonakilty is a fantastic example of an ‘architect in the community’ approach. The town architect, employed by Cork County Council, works with the community on the town’s development plan. This approach has built a strong sense of collective urbanism and civic pride and created a very democratic decision-making process. The model is now being looked at by other counties in Ireland. The focus is on creating a thriving town centre with a strong commercial and social function, underpinned by a policy to consolidate the centre rather than encourage sprawl and dispersal. That has been achieved through sensitive restoration, repurposing historic buildings and investing in a high quality pedestrian-friendly public realm including plenty of attractive spaces where people can gather socially. Clonakilty is proud to be one of the few towns in Ireland without traffic lights and with free parking.

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