An aerial view of Bailieborough, the town was nominated in County Cavan as the pilot town under the Town Centre First initiative.

Plan Preparation and Consultation

In April 2023, Frank Cooney Architects was appointed to work alongside Cavan County Council and local community and business stakeholders to develop the new Town Centre First (TCF) Plan for Bailieborough. Throughout the summer of 2023 work was ongoing on the development of the plan which included a number of public consultation opportunities to gather local views, ideas, and feedback for the regeneration of Bailieborough. A wide reaching consultation process ensured that the TCF Plan meets the aspirations of the whole community.

A full house in the Bailie Hotel on May 30th for the first public consultation in respect of the Town Centre First Plan.

Key Dates

  1. The first public consultation was held in the Bailie Hotel, Main Street, Bailieborough, on Tuesday, 30 May from 7pm – 9pm.
  2. An online survey was available to complete until Monday, 12 June at 5pm.
  3. Submissions and observations (written or by email) were welcomed from Tuesday 30 May to Monday, 12 June.
  4. A second public consultation on the Town Centre First Plan was held on August 16th. The Community Drop-In Event took place in the Bailie Hotel, from 4pm to 7pm, where attendees were able to speak with the design team and give their opinion on the draft plan.
  5. Submissions and observations (written or by email) were invited on the draft plan from Wednesday, 16 August to Monday 28 August at 5pm.
  6. During the month of September, the TCF Plan was further developed, and the final draft was completed.
  7. The final draft of the Town Centre First Plan for Bailieborough was presented to and signed off on at October meetings of both the Bailieborough-Cootehill Municipal District and Town Team.
  8. Work is now underway in implementing the actions in the plan with the Town Team.

Pictured at the May 30th Public Consultation event in respect of the Bailieborough Town Centre First Plan (left to right) Brendan Jennings, Director of Service Cavan County Council, Cllr Sarah O’Reilly, Bailieborough Cootehill MD, Cllr John Paul Feeley, Cathaoirleach Cavan County Council 2022-23, Caroline Brady, Town Regeneration Officer, Cllr Paddy McDonald, Bailieborough Cootehill MD and Frank Cooney, Consultant, Frank Cooney Architects.

Bailieborough Town Centre First Plan

Like many rural towns throughout the country, Bailieborough has experienced economic and physical decline in recent years. The preparation and implementation of the TCF plan presents a structured and project led, planned approach to the rejuvenation and regeneration of the town. The Plan has been informed and led by the people of Bailieborough, for the people of Bailieborough, through local community and stakeholder engagement and sets out a protocol for the development of the town for current and future generations.

The Plan has been developed around nine enabling themes:

  1. Building vacancy, dereliction, repurposing, and reuse
  2. Public realm
  3. Economic development opportunities
  4. Connectivity/accessibility and mobility
  5. Digital
  6. Climate
  7. Community recreational facilities
  8. Tourism/Heritage and Ecology
  9. Community collaboration and capacity building

Download Bailieborough Town Centre First Plan

The Town Centre First Plan for Bailieborough was presented to and signed off on at meetings of both the Bailieborough Cootehill Municipal District and Town Team in October 2023

Bailieborough Town Centre First Initiatives

The Town Regeneration Officer, working in conjunction with the Town Team and a number of local business and community stakeholders, has commenced the process of implementing some of the actions in the TCF Plan. The projects range from large scale capital projects (three public realm projects at the Courthouse, Market Square and Town Centre) to demonstrator case study projects where local people have expressed interest in developing over the shop and back lands projects, to smaller scale projects around digital technology, climate action and public realm initiatives.

Some of the initiatives to date include the following:

Building your Business in Bailieborough

In May 2023, Local Enterprise Office, Cavan, in conjunction with the Town Centre First initiative, held an information evening in Bailieborough Courthouse. The session provided information on the range of services and supports provided by the Local Enterprise Office. The session was free, open to all, and targeted at business owners in Bailieborough and surrounds.

The event provided an opportunity to meet with staff from the Local Enterprise Office who:

  • Provided details on supports available for retail/wholesale/manufacturing businesses.
  • Provided advice on supports available for all business owners, both well established and those thinking of starting in business.
  • Provided advice on issues such as cost savings, branding, identifying and connecting with your target audience, using social media to get your message out, establishing a Green identity and many other issues currently facing businesses around the country.

Many of the supports spoken about are free or virtually free. The purpose of the event was to provide help and advice locally. The event was very well attended, and it proposed to hold further similar events over the months ahead.

Check out Local Enterprise Office Cavan for further details on their range of supports:   

Pictured at the ‘Building your Business in Bailieborough’ information evening held in May 2023 are left to right: Gillian Madden and Tara Humphreys, Business Advisors LEO Cavan, Conor Craven A/Head of Enterprise LEO Cavan, Deputy Niamh Smyth TD, Caroline Brady, Town Regeneration Officer, and Aaron Smith Administration Support Team LEO Cavan.

Bailieborough Streetscape Enhancement Scheme

Bailieborough Development Association secured funding from the Department of Rural & Community Development through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Streetscape enhancement, to include façade and gable wall painting and derelict shop front repairs and replacement.

Improving the visual appearance of the towns streetscape increases pride and confidence in the town, making Bailieborough a more attractive place to live, work and do business.

Bailieborough Development Association, working in conjunction with the Community, Enterprise, and Tourism Department of Cavan County Council, and local businesses and premises owners has transformed the town over the summer of 2023, bringing a splash of colour and vibrancy, particularly to the main street of the town. Some 75 premises have availed of the scheme to date.

Bailieborough Creative Hub - Creative Cavan Mural Project

In July 2023, Bailieborough Creative Hub, working in conjunction with the Town Regeneration Officer and a local business, Nomad Coffee, were successful in securing funding towards the design and provision of a mural for one of the prominent businesses in the town. The aim of this collaborative project, ‘Where Past and Present Converge’ was to work with the creative, historical, and business community in Bailieborough to develop a design brief to be translated into a beautiful mural for one of the key buildings in the town.

The project breathed new life and vibrancy into an old building currently home to a modern mobile coffee dock – hence the name for the project where Past and Present Converge. This was also a ‘nod’ to the nearby Bridewell and Courthouse, currently under refurbishment. This public realm project will greatly enhance this part of the town.

As part of the project a short video was prepared detailing the commissioning and development of the mural:

The premises that benefited from a mural thanks to Creative Cavan Funding 2023. PHOTO: Jago Studio

Bailieborough Tidy Towns

Bailieborough Tidy Towns is a Voluntary Community Group working together for a cleaner, tidier town in which to live, work, shop, and visit. This is achieved through a number of initiatives including regular litter picking, planting and maintenance of flowers, shrubs and hanging baskets etc. During 2023 Bailieborough Tidy Towns, as part of the Town Centre First initiative secured Municipal District Funding which has been put to good use in the town. 

The group purchased a storage container in which to store the equipment used by the tidy towns members – currently equipment is being stored at a number of locations in and around the town - having all the equipment in one location will be of huge benefit to the group.

For the second element of the project, the Tidy Towns group procured the services of a consultant to develop a Landscape and Natural Heritage Design Proposal. The proposal includes a number of tidy towns and climate action based initiatives including a planting (low maintenance) scheme for a number of sites around the town.

It is intended to launch the Tidy Towns Plan in early Spring 2024.

In November 2023, as part of a further Town Centre First Initiative, members of Bailieborough Tidy Towns Committee along with Transition Year Students from Bailieborough Community School planted over 1000 flower bulbs within and around the town – hoping to bring a splash of colour come Springtime! The tidy towns committee members and students were ably assisted by Cllr Sarah O’Reilly, Cllr Paddy McDonald, and Caroline Brady, Town Regeneration Officer, Cavan County Council, pictured above.

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation is changing the way in which we live, work, and do business. Embracing digitalisation provides an opportunity to utilise technology to enhance the experience of living and working in towns and to integrate digital technology into daily commercial and social life.

In 2021 the Department of Rural and Community Development commissioned DCU and .IE, Ireland's national registry for .ie domain names, to conduct a digital town readiness assessment of Bailieborough as part of the TCF initiative – the purpose of the study was to help understand the town’s digital readiness and digital competitiveness. Arising from the findings of the report, the Town Regeneration Officer has been working in conjunction with DCU to deliver two initiatives.

The first sees a number of Digital Marketing postgraduate students working in conjunction with four businesses in Bailieborough to develop a new website for each of them. It is hoped the new websites will broaden the reach to their customers while providing a wider range of services e.g. online bookings for their clients and customers. This initial pilot project sees four local businesses participating and it is hoped that a second iteration of the scheme will be rolled out at a later stage enabling further businesses in the town to participate.

Staff and Students from DCU Business School alongside Joanne McGovern, TY Coordinator Bailieborough Community school, Caroline Brady Town Regeneration Officer and Daniel Peeters, Digital Lead, Cavan County Council.

In an effort to encourage younger people to embrace digitalisation and technology, DCU, again working with the Town Regeneration Officer and Bailieborough Community School, held a very successful VR (Virtual Reality) day in Bailieborough Community School in December 2023. The school has a huge interest in new technology and is keen to provide every opportunity to develop the students digital media literacy and broader skills sets.

Eugene and Edel Fox, pictured outside their premises, Fox's Bar and Restaurant on Main St Bailieborough, who are also participating in the project and hope that their new website will help to promote their business.

It is hoped that such local initiatives will help to stimulate discussion and interest in digitalisation, not alone in the schools, but in the wider community and in particular will motivate local businesses within the town to consider and explore opportunities that come with digital transition and transformation.

Getting to grips with VR - Transition Year students from Bailieborough Community School participating in the DCU/Town Centre First Virtual Reality Day...Inspiring a generation!


Caroline Brady
Town Regeneration Officer,
Community and Enterprise Department
Cavan County Council,
Farnham Centre,
Farnham Street
H12 C9K1