Rural Laois area hosts interesting event to breathe new life into community spirit

Michelle Hogan


Michelle Hogan

Rural Laois area sets out to breathe new life into community spirit

Shanahoe NS at the heart of the community

A Laois community is breaking down the barriers of rural life and breathing new energy into its community with an interesting new event for locals to get to know each other. 

'A Taste of Shanahoe' will showcase the best this rural Laois area has to offer. It is a fun event with a cuppa and entertainment to go along and see what the community has to offer in terms of local crafts, skills and businesses. 

The event was set up by a brand new committee who are working to breathe life into the run-down community hall in the area and for neighbours to get to know each other. Retiring Parish Priest Fr Kelly asked locals to set up a committee for the future of the parish and the hall. 

Sonia McDonell is one of the organisers, she said it can be hard to break down the barriers when you live in such a rural area but they want to create a community-friendly environment. 

"The Parish Priest asked a few local people who were involved in other committees to form a new committee to revitalise the hall and get some life into it and raise some funds to go back into it.

"Anyone who is trading locally we wanted to get everyone together and create more of a community. I make handmade gifts, a guy down the road does watercolour paintings and there’s another lady who teaches Irish Dancing. So we just said we all need to get together and promote ourselves and network with each other and the community.

"I’m not local, I am from Carlow and my husband is from Dublin so we bought a site here and built our house 12 years ago but I found that we only started to get integrated into the community when my little one went to school last September.

"We want to get everyone into the hall, there are small businesses all around here and people don’t even know they are down the road. We want to get more publicity for each other and make it more community-friendly. 

"Four of us formed a new committee and we have had a couple of meetings to bring ‘A Taste of Shanahoe’ together.

"It has been brilliant we have found a huge amount of people in the area, it’s a free event, we are just asking businesses to donate something to a raffle to generate a small bit of money but it is mostly about meeting up and getting to know each other.

"We want to set it up as a community hub, the more it is used the more little bits of money will come in to keep it going.

"We want the football teams, schools, parents association, fundraisers, everything should be happening in the community hall, everyone can use it as they need it. Fingers crossed it will be a great day, there is great talk in the area and a great buzz about it," she said. 

'A Taste of Shanahoe' will bring commercial, social, cultural and sporting exhibits to Shanahoe community hall from 2 - 4 pm on Sunday, July 14. All are welcome to go along on the day and enjoy the community spirit. 

See more on Facebook at Shanahoe Parish Hall.