Mountrath in Laois was first and foremost a market town, and Mountrath community Forum is poised to revive that tradition.
The new Mountrath Cottage Market gets underway in the grounds of the old Macra hall, to run once a month initially.
Local restaurateur and forum member Eddie Phelan said that taking over the vacant hall was important.
“Leasing the hall was one of our first projects after we formed in 2015. It was felt that as it was no longer in regular use, it would fall into disrepair, and as it is in a prominent position in the town centre it would reflect badly on the area,” said Eddie.
Using money that they fundraised locally, they have invested in marquees for an outdoors market, with the use of the hall if necessary.
“We have bought marquees for 14 stands, and so far we have local people who will be selling woodturning, handmade crafts, jams and baking, as well as Mountrath Camera Club,” he said.
Mountrath ICA ladies had run a country market at the spot up to last year, and he is delighted that they have offered advice and support.
The forum has joined with the Irish ‘Cottage Market’ network and members have undertaking training by the group in preparation for their own market launch.
“We will also be doing a marketing campaign and erect signs, and shoppers can park in the carpark across the road,” Mr Phelan said.
The the first market takes place on June 3.
Mountrath is one of 20 communities opening Cottage Markets this year as a result of an initiative unveiled by Grow it Yourself (GIY) and supported by Ulster Bank and The Ireland Funds.
Commenting at the announcement that Mountrath and 20 other communities would have new Cottage Market’s GIY’s Community Manager Karen O’Donohoe said: “We are delighted to help open 20 Cottage Marketsacross the country this summer, our call out to communities in Ireland for applications was successful, and we were very impressed by the vision and quality of the applications, it is wonderful to see such a huge interest in growing, creating and selling local produce right across the country.”
According to GIY a Cottage Market differs from a Farmer’s Market concept in that it is all about bringing hobbyists and amateur producers from a local area together to showcase their often hidden skills and talents in areas such growing, sewing or baking.
For further details on each of the existing Cottage Markets see http://thecottagemarket.ie/