Attanagh Residents Association celebrated 30 years in existence this year with a celebration dinner in the Castle Arms Hotel, Durrow, on Thursday, March 4.
In attendance on the night were past and present members of the association, which included some of the original founding members, current chairman Dermot Dorgan and secretary of the association John Sheeran.
On the night Mr Dorgan thanked everyone for their help and support over the years, while other members spoke of their own personal memories of the association.
John Sheeran also acknowledged the outstanding contribution by Mrs Una Houlihan, who has provided her house as a venue for their meetings for the last 30 years.
Attanagh Residents Association was founded in January 1974. Local people were at that time concerned that the village was being completely ignored and neglected by the local authority. The association was formed to draw attention to this neglect and to seek improvements for the village and its immediate surrounds.
Laois County Council were called upon to improve the roads, provide public lighting, signposts, a refuse collection and other amenities. These aims were, as time went on, more or less accomplished. However, it was the provision of a water scheme for the area that became a priority and during the 1970s the association’s energies were almost totally committed to the setting up of the Attanagh Group Water Scheme. This scheme was completed in 1980 and remains the association’s greatest achievement. The association operated the scheme for 20 years, then handed it over to a separate committee - now a limited company.
The association has entered the village in the Tidy Towns competition every years since 1987. Marks gained in this have been generally disappointing, but nevertheless the village has benefited according to everyone concerned.
In recent times, the establishment of the Irish Fly Fishing and Game Shooting Museum by local man, Walter Phelan has enhanced the profile and reputation of the area and in the past year alone has attracted over 2,000 visitors to the village.
On the social side of things, Attanagh Residents Association has been active in the promotion of different functions. The most successful were the social events in aid of Malawi Missions, to support the work of local priest Fr Seamus Foley CSSP.
Other fundraising efforts for the Association have included weekly card games during the winter months which had the added bonus of providing a useful source of income and enjoyment.
The future continued development of the village can only be assured by the support and interest of all the people who reside here.