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Portarlington’s pool fab at forty

Jerry O'Dea
Fianna Fail

Jerry O'Dea Fianna Fail

Portarlington’s swimming pool is open 40 years this month, and every volunteer, committee member and lifeguard over that time is invited back to the poolside to celebrate the big four-oh.

It is hoped that pop stars Jedward will be among those attending the ceremony which takes place at 10.30am on Friday June 27.

The exuberant duo John and Edward regularly stayed with their grandmother in Bracknagh while growing up, and are among the thousands of children who learned to swim in Portarlington pool since it opened its doors on June 28 1974.

Port pool was founded and run by the community on a completely volunteer basis for the benefit of the community.

Six years ago it was reborn as Portarlington Leisure Centre, now run independently of the committee, on a non-profit basis by Laois County Council.

Secretary of Portarlington Swimming Pool Association is Niall McElwaine.

“We are having a simple ceremony, a service with parish priest Fr Dooley and Archdeacon Lesley Stephenson. We will call out the names of all the people we can recall who worked here and have passed on. There were well over 100 voluntary workers over the years, and with lifeguards that would be a couple of hundred,” he said.

The price of a swim in 1974 was 5 pence for a child during the day, 10p in the evening, and 25p for adults. Volunteers would give out a ticket at the hatch, then take in belongings in a basket to stack on shelves.

To mark the birthday, the cost of a swim on the day will be 50c per child and €1 for adults.

The day will also feature a life saving competition between lifeguards from Port and Portlaoise pools.

The ceremony begins at 10.30am with tea afterwards. All are welcome.

 

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