Abbeyleix bog project could be flagship

Abbeyleix Bog has been described as one of the most exciting projects in the State at the moment, by the chairman of the bog committee.

Abbeyleix Bog has been described as one of the most exciting projects in the State at the moment, by the chairman of the bog committee.

Buoyed by what he described as a hugely posititve reaction from the community in general at a discussion last week on future plans for the bog, Gary O’Keeffe said that it could be a flagship project not only for Abbeyleix, but for the county.

“We have this 500-acre site and we have to figure out how to maximise its benefits. In July 2000, the committee set out on what was an unattainable goal, to have the bog handed back to the community, but 12 years later through the sheer hard work of the committee we have achieved that goal. Now we have to look at ways of achieving the maximum benefit for the community,” he said.

The committee plan to focus on education and creating a centre of excellence for education from primary school level up to third level. Another idea is to create a mini-visitor centre, which would be cost effective.

“There’s already been a lot of international interest in the project and we’ve been in contact with universities from Holland, Denmark, Poland and Scotland. There is huge scope in this area. We have to go away now and scope the feasibility of each idea,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

Around 30 people attended the briefing, which was held in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel, last Thursday night.

“If you came into the meeting feeling tired, you left it jumping around. People are fed up of the doom and gloom. We have a hugely positive reaction from the community. This could be a flagship project not just for Abbeyleix but for the county.”

The official opening of a loop walk around the bog, which is a joint project between Abbeyleix Business and Community Forum (ABC) and the Abbeyleix Bog Committee will take place on Sunday, April 15 at 2pm.