Oasis of play and calm opens

The old library is gone but a new story began for Irishtown last Tuesday, June 5, when Mountmellick’s new amenity park was officially opened.

The old library is gone but a new story began for Irishtown last Tuesday, June 5, when Mountmellick’s new amenity park was officially opened.

The small riverside park has been transformed into an oasis of calm for young and old to enjoy, with outdoor gym equipment, seating, games areas and a play area for small children, and a wooden fence beside the Owenass river.

Launching the park, County Manager Peter Carey thanked everyone who had been involved, including his staff, Laois Sports Partnership, the FAI and the MDA.

“It is a beautiful amenity for the people of Mountmellick and surrounding areas,” Mr Carey said. “Its success will be about its usage. I want to pay tribute to the town councillors, every one has been very committed to this and to the new library and arts centre. Thanks to the teachers and pupils of St Pauls, and local residents for their support and patience. I hope everyone gets great enjoyment and makes great use of it, while respecting it,” he added.

The council’s manager for the Mountmellick area Ian McCormack had particular praise for Ger O’Mahoney and the local area workers.

“Ger never sees problems, he sees solutions. He takes great pride, he minded this place like it was one of his own babies, it couldn’t have happened without him,” he said.

Mountmellick Active Retirement are planning to visit the outdoor gym regularly. Chairperson Orla O’Byrne was also looking forward to taking her four grandchildren to play there.

“It’s a wonderful facility to have in the town. We need the town to take responsibility for it now, I hope it won’t be vandalised,” she said.

Singer Joe Laffan from Mountmellick believes the park would be perfect for some outdoor music.

“It’s terrific, I can’t wait to bring my grandchildren. They could have done with a few more play things, but maybe they will bring some from Smiths Field. I wouldn’t bring the grandchildren there,” he said.

Table tennis, boules and horseshoe equipment can be borrowed from the restaurant in the MDA, which is open until 7.30pm, and at weekends. The MDA carpark is available to use also.

The need for a pedestrian crossing was highlighted by the manager of Sonas, Catriona O’Hearne, and by Reverand Noble from St Paul’s school, who prayed for safety for those crossing the road during her blessing.

Manager Ian McCormack agreed it was an issue.

“It’s up to the National Roads Authority, it will be something we will be considering,” he said.

Following the blessing by Rev Noble and Fr Kavanagh, the ribbon was cut by Chairman of Laois County Council John Bonham.