Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Woodstock Allotment Project

President Michael D. Higgins recent address in Athy regarding the value of a caring community was brought home to me during the week when I visited the Woodstock estate allotment project. What was once a dumping site has now been changed by the local community into a pleasant gardening area. Even now in its early stages the allotment is a wonderful example of what can be achieved by people coming together to help themselves and their own area. The Woodstock estate gardening project was started by Dom Foley with the encouragement of Lisa Walsh. Their early efforts met with success and they were soon joined by a growing team of local residents including Mick Dempsey, Peter Ging, Kathleen O’Connor, Mary Walsh, Larry Kinsella, Matt Hyland and Natalie Leonard. Even the youngsters of Woodstock were involved and amongst the volunteer workers were 9 year old Saoirse Leonard who looks after the bird boxes and Cian O’Neill who is a very effective waterer of the plants. The residents have received help from many quarters and the co-operation of Kildare County Council must be first acknowledged, for it was the Council which allowed the former dumping ground to be used for the allotment project. The County Council engaged a contractor to clear the half acre site of the debris and rubbish which had accumulated over many years. It also provided and installed fencing to separate the allotment area from the fields and the recreational areas which are now a feature of the Woodstock, Townspark, Carbury Park, Castle Park and Greenhills riverside areas. The entire area in the vicinity of Woodstock Castle now looks better than it has for many years past. Both the County Council and the respective residents associations in the area must be congratulated for what has been achieved. The Woodstock estate allotment is a project which is evolving and Dom Foley and others have put in a lot of man and women hours into digging the ground, building raised beds and planting a variety of vegetables and fruit. A community group always needs support from outside their own immediate members and the Woodstock residents are very appreciative of the very generous donations received from Brendan Kelly, Griffin & Hawe and the Farmers Co-op. The shared spirit of community co-operation has had a huge beneficial effect on the Woodstock area and is a model for other associations in and around Athy to copy. Another group which has done much praiseworthy work to benefit the community is Athy District and Anglers Club. Its members have recently installed fishing stands on both banks of the River Barrow in and around Athy. These stands include a number of wheelchair friendly stands which will be of enormous benefit to disabled fishing folk. The work in installing the fishing stands has been carried out on a voluntary basis by the angling club members under the clubs chairperson, John Shaughnessy. The anglers club will shortly celebrate the 60th Anniversary of its foundation. The first mention in the local newspapers of the new club appeared on the 2nd June 1959. Local reporter, Jimmy O’Higgins reported the formation of the Club following a meeting called by Tom Donohue and his friend Chris Burley, both of St. Joseph’s Terrace. The first chairman of the club was Athy Postmaster Wilf Meredith with Harry Hegarty as Secretary and Pat Mulhall as the Club Treasurer. The clubs committee 60 years ago included Walter Hurley, Ted O’Rourke, Albert Duthie, Willie Webb, Joe Alcock, P. Kavanagh and Christy Dunne. There are at present about 120 members in the club which monitors and facilitates fishing on a twelve mile stretch of the river Barrow between Dunrally and the Three Counties. The club organises eleven fishing competitions each year. Pike fishing competitions are held between September and December and three of those competitions are for cups commemorating past members, Mick Leonard, PJ Byrne and Liam Kane. The McStay Cup and the Hughes Cup named in honour of Tom McStay and Ted Hughes are presented for trout fishing competitions which this year were held in Grangecon. On Saturday, 9th June the club will officially dedicate a fishing stand in memory of Dick Warner, the environmentalist and broadcaster. The ceremony takes place at 2.30 p.m. on the jetty which his located in what was once Athy’s harbour at the rear of the Courthouse. The Woodstock residents and the members of the Athy Angler’s Club have shown great community spirit and set a headline for the town, where week in week out, local men and women give of their time and experience for the benefit of our community.

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