HISTORY OF KAVA
IIn 2013, a group of 10 local artists met to discuss the possibilities of supporting visual arts in the Kinvara area. Regular meetings became common, and thus KAVA was born. Before finding a base for the group, KAVA organised pop-up exhibitions in vacant spaces around the town. In 2015, the Kinvara Community Council agreed to work in cooperation with KAVA to use the Courthouse for visual arts events as well as community based programmes.
The 19th century structure underwent substantial renovation under the stewardship, professional input, and voluntary work of KAVA. Coming up to the end of 2021, KAVA had approximately 80 members, ranging from professional to amateur hobbyist, located all over County Galway, different parts of Ireland, and even some from abroad.
HISTORY OF THE COURTHOUSE
The Courthouse, located in Kinvara, County Galway, is a Georgian building dating from 1840. From the 1860s it was used as a performance space as well as a Court. The poet and songwriter Francis Fahy, (Galway Bay was one of his songs) was born in Kinvara and produced his first play ‘The Last of the O’Learys’ in the Courthouse. It was performed by the local Dramatic Society in aid of the dependents of Fenian prisoners in 1869. The building was also used to lay out bodies, particularly those who died of unnatural causes in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Petty Sessions were held there whilst Ireland was ruled by Britain, but in 1920 the original building was almost completely demolished by a group of local Irish Volunteers.
It was eventually rebuilt and District Court sittings took place there from 1926 onwards. The Courthouse also accommodated a community playschool from 1980, which ran alongside the District Court sittings, the last of which was in 2008. The Playschool moved to its current purpose-built premises in 2009. The building has been the venue for wide variety of events since then, including housing the Kinvara Youth Project from 2010 – 2015.
In 2015 the Courthouse became the home of KAVA with the support of the Kinvara Community Council and the Parish Council. Since opening the Courthouse as a community Art Gallery/Art Space KAVA has revitalized the building.