History of The Courthouse

Kinvara is a town with a rich history from its connections to the sea, and the area has a thriving and growing creative community of artists, musicians, and writers. The KAVA gallery/art space is situated in the old Courthouse in the centre of the town, a building with a lot of charm and stories of old.

The Courthouse 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. We have taken on the gradual restoration of the building and are always looking for funding to support this.