West Cork’s newest co-working space, The Courthouse Hub, is up and running in the small village of Timoleague, conveniently situated not far from the towns of Kinsale, Bandon and Clonakilty.
On a short stopover at The Hub recently, Minister for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, Neale Richmond TD commented on how every village in Ireland should have this type of facility available to people working remotely.
“Though everyone works in different ways, separating family life from work can be a challenge for some people working from home or they can simply miss the office personal interaction with other workers. Co-working spaces can play a big part in bridging that gap between home and office ultimately achieving the goal of a healthy work-life balance.”
After 23 years in Dublin, co-owners and husband and wife team, Paul and Sharon Crosbie, both Cork natives, relocated to Timoleague – where they holidayed for many summer’s in the family cottage – just before the pandemic.
Paul had spent 35 years working in the Irish media industry and was doing some consultancy work from home in Timoleague. “I saw co-working spaces at the time as being a very interesting concept, as I personally found remote working difficult, coming from a busy office environment background,” he shares. “The 300-year-old Courthouse building always caught my eye.”
The building had been used as an English executive language school in previous years and wasn’t for sale at the time, however, Paul made enquiries and the couple went on to purchase the Old Courthouse in 2021, mid pandemic.
They have been running an AirBnB upstairs while the ground floor was being developed into a co-working space to service the surrounding area.
“I felt at the time, that this was the way work-life was going,” says Paul.
“Covid came along and changed everything. Work habits had to adapt and so did companies. Co-working spaces have become a huge part of this change and are now part of the working fabric in Ireland coupled with the objective to re-generation rural towns and villages.”
Paul and Sharon’s hope is that The Courthouse Hub will solve many of the challenges remote workers deal with on a daily basis, such as social isolation, slow internet speeds, fuel and traffic!
Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, Timoleague and the surrounding area is a popular spot with visitors, so ‘The Hub’ will offer people the opportunity to extend their stay to a working holiday; with accommodation upstairs and a restaurant across the street, it’s the perfect spot to combine work and leisure!
The Courthouse Hub offers different types of workspaces from dedicated desks and counter spaces to private office and fall out chill areas, all very competitively priced, with packages available for those interested in renting a space long-term.
“To come and work in Timoleague is easy, with free parking and easy access. We are wheelchair-friendly and offer individual spaces or group spaces in a very pleasant work-orientated environment right in the middle of the village. We hope it will be of benefit to the community and attract more people into the centre of the village, which in turn creates a vibrant village community.
“The Hub’s motto is ‘sometimes… everybody needs a little space.’ Our challenge is to ensure we can be as flexible as possible and facilitate all our customers workspace and office requirements.”
The Courthouse Hub is open for business to anyone looking for a space to work. Paul and Sharon are very happy to show people around the workspaces with no pressure or commitment.
The building itself is rich in history. Built in 1700, this iconic building once served as a market house on the ground floor, with the court sessions held upstairs. Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator, is reputed to have defended a client there in 1822, thus the plaque on the outside of the building.
Proudly displaying that history, a beautiful mural painted inside the space by artist Deirdre Keohane, with the help of some of the local Courtmacsherry ‘Broadstrand Artists’ depicts Daniel O’Connell coming into Timoleague by carriage with the Old Courthouse building in the background.
Other historic trials of note in the Courthouse history include the 1862 case of a Timoleague parish priest, Fr. Ned Mulcahy. He was accused of breaking the lock from the gate of the Old Clogagh Graveyard when the landlord attempted to keep locals out. A huge gathering to support the priest, led to the presiding magistrate to adjourn the hearing. Fr. Ned was carried shoulder high from the Courthouse while the landlord cowered in the building until nightfall.
The inquest into the Aghawadda ambush of May 1920 was also heard in the building.
Older locals will remember the two petrol pumps that were stationed in the western alcoves: One was an electric pump and the other was a tall cylindrical version with a lever that was cranked from side to side to fill the one-gallon glass jars, before the contents were released into the car parked (or tractor) alongside.
A cast iron weighbridge also stood outside on market or fair days. The demise of the weighbridge came in about 1970 when a brewery lorry parked on it and the weighbridge gave away. It was later removed, and the remaining crater filled in to street level.
Now this old building is moving with the times and is celebrating a new chapter in Timoleague’s history into the 21st century.
For booking go to www.courthousehub.ie