This Laois town has received an incredible Christmas gift from the Brigidine nuns

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Mountrath, Co Laois.

The Brigidine Sisters​ ​who served and educated the town of Mountrath for generations, have given the community a generous gift this Christmas, that could boost the town for years to come.

Today Mountrath Community Forum has announced that they have accepted the gift of the Convent, School and its immediate surroundings, for use by the community as a Community Hub.

The forum have exciting new plans for what they describe as "vast facilities".

The new Mountrath Community Hub will provide new facilities for clubs and societies, as well as becoming a centre for training courses, and community initiatives like Meals on Wheels, the Men’s Sheds and a school of music. Plans possibly​ ​include​ ​a​ ​day​ ​service​ ​for​ ​older​ ​persons​ ​also. Mountrath is home to Irish and European Kettlebells Champions, European Table Tennis Champions​ and now ​with​ ​these​ ​new​ ​facilities ​they​ ​will be able to​ ​take​ ​on​ ​the​ ​world.

Martin Meade is Forum Chairman.

"The Sisters, the local Parish and the Mountrath Community Forum have been working tirelessly over the past 6 months on the transfer of the asset into community hands. We are delighted to announce that the facilities are now under the control of the Mountrath Community forum and will be used for the betterment of the​ ​community​ ​for​ ​years​ ​to​ come," he said. 

The grounds will be held in trust by the Mountrath Community Forum for the benefit of Mountrath and will soon be available for use by the community as a whole once some renovations are​ ​complete.

"The unequivocal support from the Brigidine Sisters to the town of Mountrath and its surrounding locality has been overwhelming and humbling, but their remarkable gifting of this greatly​ ​needed​ ​facility,​ ​will​ ​provide ​multiple​ ​benefits​ ​to​ ​our​ ​small​ ​town. Mountrath is a get-up- and-go community, is independent, passionate and vibrant. Waiting to be saved​ ​is​ ​no longer an option​-​ ​we​ ​are​ ​doing​ ​it​ ​for​ ​ourselves," said Mr Meade.

Formed in 2015, the forum is leading a drive to revitalise the market town. The ten strong membership has already established a Men’s Shed, relaunched a bustling Cottage Market, secured training and helped rejuvenate the local Foroige club, carried out a Paint the Town Project, introduced a Flora and Fauna town beautification plan and funded woodcraft and horticultural courses.

The Forum has recently formed a new school of music, with already over sixty students learning instruments. The formation of a Community Enterprise Hub for cottage and start-up industries is underway at the old Telfords shop, and will allow a significant number of community groups​ ​get​ ​established​ ​with​ ​their​ ​own​ ​dedicated​ ​base​ ​of​ operations.

“We are a hardworking and energetic community and have not yet reached our potential. When we looked at what everyone was doing, we found that a lot of small groups were trying to do similar things, but in isolation.

"The Forum came together to combine and support the efforts of groups in the community and to form private and public partnerships to access national funding and support for those groups. The fantastic generosity of the Brigidine Sisters gifting of this amazing resource, will provide a central and vital hub for community activities. It is only the beginning of our 5 -year plan,” Martin Meade said. 

The Forum is holding​ ​a​ ​launch​ ​of the Community Hub on​ Saturday December 16 at 2.30pm at their Christmas Market, which runs from 12 noon until 4pm.

There will also be  Carol​ ​Singing, a visit from Santa​ ​Claus,  a Music​ ​Club​ ​Christmas​ ​Show, ending with the lighting of the Christmas Tree and street fairy lights at 5.30pm.

Read all about plans for Mountrath in a previous Leinster Express special feature here.

​​​​​​To​ ​find​ ​out​ ​more ​ about​ ​ Mountrath​, visit​ www.mountrath.ie/hub​ or​ ​email​ info@mountrath.ie

Below: Forum Member Eddie Phelan at Mountrath Cottage Market