Laois town to be like 'miniature Centre Parcs' with new facilities

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

Laois town to be like 'miniature Centre Parcs' with new facilities

Ballinakill outdoor pool, to be joined with new playground and park

A Laois town is going to be like "a miniature Centre Parcs" thanks to new outdoor amenities on the way.

Major new outdoor amenities have got the green light for Ballinakill in south Laois near the Kilkenny border.

The home of the already famous Lutyens / Jekyll designed Heywood Gardens has now got planning approval for multiple new outdoor facilities that the local committee chairman says will have Ballinakill like a “miniature Centre Parcs”.

The new amenities include a new playground, a new multipurpose sports court, landscaped open space and meadow and a 51 space carpark with a set down space for busses. Scroll down to see site plan.

They will be beside the outdoor swimming pool, the only such pool in Laois which will become heated next year. 

Paddy Moore is Chair of Ballinakill Community Development Association CLG. They had restored the pool last year and will be adding heating to it for summer 2021 using a €100k grant from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

“We are delighted, a lot of hard work has been done by the committee. It will mean so much for children to have all this on their doorsteps, the whole community was involved in choosing what to put in.

“We are in the process of launching three new walks and a heritage trail, and with the fishing pond and the walkway to Heywood Gardens, Ballinakill is a golden gem in the south of Laois. We just have to get it on the map,” he said.

Below: The sunken garden in Heywood Demesne amid 50 acres of woodland and lakes, owned by the Office of Public Works and free to visitors.

The latest project is funded by a Leader grant of €200,000, with the group adding another €20,000.
Laois County Council members approved Part 8 planning permission at the September council meeting and they praised the committee.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly proposed the approval.
“I want to congratulate the group in Ballinakill. I’ve been working with them for a number of years, and on this application. Well done to them they are working very well together,” he said.

Cllr Willie Aird agreed and asked the council to install playground items for people with disabilities.

The site is to the north of Ballinakill behind Main Street. It will be given a larger entrance off the Heywood Demesne Road, and a new footpath and lighting along the road.