On Tuesday morning, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, announced that funding of €500,000 has been allocated to a Boyle greenway project, which has been in the pipeline for quite a number of years.
The most recent announcement for Boyle sees its 2040 plan being awarded a second major funding announcement. The €500,000 is being allocated to develop a cycle corridor from Lough Key Forest Park to Boyle town centre. Chairman of Boyle Town Team, the body which has led the project along with Roscommon County Council, Brian Nerney, said: “The Team are absolutely delighted at the funding announcement."
Mr Nerney continued to say: "A lot of hard work has gone into the application by Team members and personnel in Roscommon County Council and the €500,000, which represents 80% of the total cost of the project, will be of great assistance. The Greenway is an integral part of the Team’s plan to copperfasten the links between Boyle and Lough Key Forest Park so the town can capitalise on the growing number of visitors to the Park.”
Mr Nerney explained that Boyle Town Team, in conjunction with other organisations in the town, has been working on a plan for the town for the last three years. This resulted in 'Boyle 2040' being launched in October of this year. The plan has been developed to provide a blueprint for future private and public investment in the town. He explained how the plan has come about, and expressed his delight in the vote of confidence for Boyle: "The greenway and Royal building development along with associated work form the first phase of the plan and we are delighted that central government, along with Roscommon Co Co has seen that the plan makes economic and commercial sense and have decided to back Boyle 2040. This funding is critical to allow us to develop this historic and important building in the town centre."
Last month, €200,000 was allocated to Roscommon County Council for development work in Boyle town under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the funding is to be used for the development of a boardwalk and associated work along the Boyle river.
Both funding announcements see the Boyle 2040 plan being moved forward. The plan prioritises town centre development and enhancing Boyle’s heritage attractions. It is hoped that the plan will act to assure local people and potential investors about what they will be investing in over the next 20-years. It has been produced by the town centre planning unit at Roscommon County Council, Boyle Town Team, along with various local interested parties.
Research into the development of the plan discovered that there are just 15 residents in the southern part of Boyle town and a key element of the plan is repopulating the town centre with the development of over 110 new housing units and putting a push on landlords to renovate their properties for residential use. Under the plan the town will be zoned in to three distinct town quarters; the King House quarter, the Frybrook Creative Space, and the Abbey quarter. To assist in addressing plans for the town centre depopulation, Boyle was recently one of five towns nationwide to receive €100,000 under the pilot ‘Residential Occupancy Scheme’.
The site of the former Royal hotel will also be transformed under Boyle 2040 and will form the hub for walking and cycling loops around the town, to the Boyle river, and out to Lough Key Forest park. Under the plans for the North Roscommon town, the centre of Boyle is to be transformed into a vibrant residential, tourist, and business centre over the next 20-years. The entire Boyle 2040 plan is available for the public to view through the local authority with artists renditions of what is envisaged.
In early October this year, Roscommon County Council lodged the formal planning application for the overhaul of the Royal Hotel site in Boyle. The local authority purchased the derelict hotel last year and intends to demolish the outbuildings to the side and rear of the main structure. The remainder of the premises is set to become an enterprise centre and exhibition space, while a riverside promenade will also be developed along the Boyle River. The planning application also details the development of a new civic space, with an acoustic shell, lighting, seating, and landscaping.
Another plan for the progressive town is the aim to receive 'cycle friendly status' for which work has commenced following funding from Healthy Ireland. The designation of 'Age Friendly status' is also in the pipeline.
"All the pieces of the jigsaw are coming into place for the rejuvenation of Boyle and we now await positive news on our application under the Rural Recreational Fund to allow work to commence on the old Royal building. For many years Boyle has been the forgotten child in the area but not so any more. Through unity and vision and a positive attitude by its people, the rejuvenation of Boyle has commenced with the town's future now looking brighter than ever before," the Boyle Town Team chairman concluded.
The tendering process has opened for the second phase of the food hub in Castlerea. A total of €500,000 of state funding has been allocated for the entire project, which is called ‘An Chistin’. The project was granted planning permission in January 2017, and the state-of-the-art food hub in Castlerea became operational in September of last year, with a professional cookery course ongoing in a food-training facility located in the premises. The course is being run by the Galway-Roscommon Education and Training Board. There are currently fifteen students undertaking the 48-week chef training course at the facility.
The next stage of the food hub involves the development of three incubation units for commercial kitchens, which will cost about €140,000, and is funded jointly by Roscommon Leader Partnership, Roscommon County Council, and Enterprise Castlerea. The three units will include a 500 square feet unit, an 800 square feet unit, and a 1,000 square feet unit. Ten units were granted planning permission, and it is understood that if the project proves successful more units will be developed in the future. Benny O’Connell, the chairman of Enterprise Castlerea, which manages the food hub has said that this next phase will see three units developed, with a basic fit-out which can be easily adapted by whatever operator takes on the units. He has said that anyone looking to start a small food business in any of the units will face minimal expense in finishing the fit-outs.
It is hoped that the tendering process can progress as quickly as possible to the construction phase, with the intention being to have the three units ready for use by Easter 2019. It is expected that the units will be suitable for start-up or small-scale food operators who are perhaps currently operating from home making small batches, who want to test their product and see if it has a greater commercial appeal.
Hubsy the shop elf is running riot through the businesses of Strokestown, bestowing great value deals and offers upon the shoppers of Strokestown all the way to Christmas. So far, loads of children (and some adults) have found Hubsy and have availed of great value deals in shops through-out Strokestown.
In the week gone by, Hubsy has been spotted in Centra Strokestown, McHugh’s Gift Shop, Forget Me Not Photography, and The Percy French Hotel. Everywhere that Hubsy went, the crowds were sure to go. And great value followed the playful elf from business to business.
The shop local mascot, Hubsy, was brought to life by the Hub Community Café in Strokestown as part of a Shop Local campaign being orchestrated by Strokestown Town Team. Strokestown Town Team and Strokestown Traders Association are asking people to eat, drink & shop locally this Christmas. Strokestown has a great mix of businesses offering a wide variety of goods and services to the public with amazing value on offer.
Strokestown, for a small town, has a lot to offer. There is a wide array of great bars and restaurants to be enjoyed in the evening time and shops to peruse during the day time. Strokestown is home to several brilliant hair dressers and beauticians which is something a lot of towns of a similar size don’t have.
As the counties 6th largest town, Strokestown is really rallying with several new businesses opening since this time last year. For the Christmas period there is little you cannot get in Strokestown, with quality pharmacies and supermarkets and fantastic gift shops; including a wonderful clothing accessories boutique.
This year people who might not normally think of staying local for their Christmas parties or Christmas gift shopping are being asked to give Strokestown a chance. The businesses in the town make a really genuine effort to ensure they offer great value to customers both new and old all year round, but especially at Christmas.
Hubsy the shop elf will continue his exploits around Strokestown in the coming weeks. So, if you are in Strokestown and see Hubsy in any of the great businesses, snap a picture and post it to the @Strokestown.ie Facebook page, and join in the fun and excitement that is Christmas in Strokestown.
This coming week, local businessman Imran Mani will open his second business in Strokestown. Mr Mani already operates Mobitech, a phone and computer repair shop on Elphin Street in the North-West Roscommon town. He is opening an Indian take-away called Mahi Kebabish. The restaurant will specialise in Indian curries, fresh kebabs, and pizzas. Enquiries can be made to Mr Mani on his mobile number (089) 982 4338.
Long-awaited history book on the Sliabh Bán district to be launched next month
A major new publication is about to be added to the already large collection of Roscommon local histories. Covering a large swarth of the eastern part of the county, Sliabh Bán, A Historical Journey, is a 470-page volume which chronicles the lives and times of generations past who lived on and around the rugged mountain.
This publication is the culmination of twenty-years of research and writing by Henry Owens of Lismehy. He has been assisted in recent years by Mike Lennon, now Dublin-based, but who grew up in Corbohill. Bringing the book to the publication stage was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ballymore native and RTE Gaelic Games Correspondent, Brian Carthy, and the design and layout staff of Brian’s company, Sliabh Bán Productions.
While individual histories of schools, churches, and GAA clubs in the area have been written, this is the first comprehensive historical account of the greater Sliabh Bán district. It encompasses the modern parishes of Kilgefin, Tarmonbarry, and Strokestown which include the ancient parishes of Cloontuskert, Kilgefin, Bumlin, Cloonfinlough, Lisonuffy along with the northern end of Kilbride; an area of about seventy square miles.
The book is divided into fifteen sections which deal with geography, religion, education, natural history, sport, political history, entertainment, drama, infrastructure, farming, business, prominent people, and families. There is a lengthy memoir written by the late Dr Hugh Gibbons in which he recounts his formative years in Ballybeg while Brian Carthy has contributed an account of family life while growing up in Ballymore.
Thanks to the generosity of many contributors, the book is liberally illustrated with hundreds of old photographs which will evoke memories of events, places, and people who have passed onto their eternal reward. The last section is devoted to a miscellaneous collection of photographs under the title ‘Pictorial journey through the years.’
The publication of this history will help present and future generations discover and reflect on how their ancestors lived through periods of famine, poverty, political subjugation, and unrest while pursuing ordinary day-to-day activities. It also shines a light on how the population around Sliabh Bán evolved from being tenants and cottiers to the modern-day communities.
The launch is scheduled to take place in the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown on Sunday night, December 16th and further details will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Democrat would like to wish all local organisations who are attending the Pride of Place Awards best of luck. The awards ceremony takes place this Saturday evening in Cork City Hall. Strokestown Town Team will be represented by Paula Fitzpatrick, Danny Compton, and Peter Caslin. The event which Strokestown hosted in the Percy French Hotel in July was a great success which showcased the community of Strokestown. Two other groups from Roscommon will be represented at the event, namely; the Tulsk Action Group and Ballintubber Tidy Towns. Best of luck to all groups attending and we hope to bring home an award to Roscommon.
Once again, the people of Boyle and all the surrounding area came out in big numbers to take part in the annual Run, Walk n’ Roll for cancer research. Almost 400 participants of all ages; both young and old ran, walked and, cycled to support the cause. There were children in buggies and even the dogs on the street knew this event was on as the orgnaiser, Damien Regan, was aptly interrupted by a 'woof' when he announced that dogs were welcome on the run. It was a great event which saw everybody out smiling, enjoying themselves, and doing something good for their health.
All participants received a well-deserved medal for participating and refreshments were served in the hall afterwards, so it was a great social occasion for in attendance. First person home was Eastersnow/Croghan man, Paul Little, in a time of 20.10, with local Boyle teen, Daniel Casey - who is getting nearer to winning every year - coming in a close second. Kristy McHenry from Croghan, was the first lady to pass the finish line on the day.
So far this year, almost five thousand euro has been raised, and there are still funds to come in. The organisers thanked all their supporters for their continued generous contributions, and all the volunteers who gave willingly of their time.