Two local communities fly the flag for Laois in All-Island Pride of Place competition

Both of the Laois entries have fantastic community spirit and achievements

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Two local communities fly the flag for Laois in All-Island Pride of Place competition

After a break of four years, County Laois will again be represented in the 2017 IPB All-Island Pride of Place competition.

Communities across Laois will display how proud they are to live in, work in and take care of their own local areas.

The IPB All Island Pride of Place Competition in association with Co-operation Ireland will take place countrywide and this year, Laois will be represented by two entries, namely the community of Rathdowney-Errill and the residents in Kiln Lane, Mountrath.

The competition, now in its 15th year, is sponsored by IPB Insurances and hosted by Co-operation Ireland under its Local Authority Programme, comprising officials from authorities in both parts of Ireland.

The aim of the Pride of Place competition is to recognise initiatives taken by local communities to create pride in their area and to celebrate the vital contribution that community groups make to society.

The competition focuses on people coming together to shape, enhance and enjoy all that is good about their area.

Entries representing cities, towns and villages throughout the entire island of Ireland are nominated by their respective local authorities to take part in the competition.

The last time Laois entered the competition was in 2013, when Portarlington Town proudly brought home a runner-up prize in its population category.

Laois representatives in this year’s competition are:

Kiln Lane, Mountrath (Housing  Estates Category)

Kiln Lane is a community of mixed housing on the outskirts of Mountrath, comprising residents from Kiln Lane, Clonbarrow and An Garráin estates, whose cooperation as a group dates back to the mid 1980’s. Their great efforts to bring together this small community can be seen in the hard work of local volunteers’ grass-cutting, planting, and the organisation of very successful estate events including their 1916 commemorative event and family fun days, all extremely well supported locally. Their educational efforts for young and old alike can be seen in their horticultural projects, poly tunnel and other programmes. Their community building provides a space for activities including arts and crafts and Glee club. They opened their playground and games area in 2009. Housing up to three family generations in some cases, this estate displays great respect for family legacy and commitment to ensuring the estate’s pride, winning them a number of local awards in recent years.

Rathdowney-Errill (Population 1,000 – 2,000 Category)

Rathdowney and Errill are linked in many ways, both historically and currently. Both localities boast a Vision Group which strives to keep developing their local area, while cooperating in a number of areas, including sport, education, enterprise, job creation and socially. The perception when passing through the area would be of a quiet location, but behind the scenes the activity is plentiful on all fronts. One of the few towns in Laois to boast a secondary school, young people in the area are well catered for with a playground, youth cafe, sporting and social clubs. At the other end of the age spectrum, older and isolated people enjoy a vibrant meals-on-wheels and social service. Local activities in between include a Men’s Shed, angling and game conservation, arts and culture groups and as a community working together, Tidy Towns, Community Alert and several commemorative and history projects. The ‘Inspire Rathdowney’ project engaged local entrepreneurs and helped them to acquire the skills needed to start their own business. The ability of this community to raise funds is widely known, with supports given by local business and the local church parishes, which is evident throughout the locality, ranging from sponsorship to involvement in local events. The people of Rathdowney-Errill are very proud of their history and take pride in their ongoing progressive development all through both difficult and prosperous periods over the years. Fundraising efforts and the local church parish.

Pride of Place comes to Co. Laois, when the judges from Co-operation Ireland visit the above locations and groups on Thursday July 27. If you or your group wish to get involved in the preparation for the judging at any of these locations, you can contact the Pride of Place Liaison Officer on (057) 8664150 or email dce@laoiscoco.ie. All help will be gratefully accepted!

Best of luck to all of Laois’ representative entrants in this year’s IPB All Island Pride of Place Competition in association with Co-operation Ireland, supported by Laois County Council.