It was a day of significant pride and excitement in the community of Ballinakill today when the new playground was officially opened.
The great and the good of the local community were out in force as dignitaries, clergy and politicians were all on hand as the ribbon was cut on Páirc na Coille, a name chosen by primary school students from Ballinakill and nearby Knock NS.
Located on the site as the swimming pool, the Ballinakill Community Development Association fundraised considerably in recent years and also received backing from Laois Partnership to develop the facility.
With a couple of swings and slides, climbing towers, see-saws, a zip line and sand pit – with a safe all-weather surface, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a huge hit.
Chairperson Liz Kennedy led the way in terms of the official duties with contributions also from Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Conor Bergin, Donal Brennan, Director of Services with Laois County Council, Fr Sean Conlan and Canon Harvey.
Community Development and Parish Council members were also in attendance for what is a significant addition to an already vibrant area.
The Heywood gardens are just a short walk away while Ballinakill GAA club are going from strength to strength with the addition of a new indoor sports arena.
Also present today was Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley, Councillors Barry Walsh, John Joe Fennelly, Catherine Fitzgerald and Caroline Dwane-Stanley.
Abbeyleix parish priest Fr Paddy Byrne, whose area includes Ballinakill, was among the attendees.
With the speeches over and the ribbon cut, it was then the children’s time.
They’d been waiting patiently for the gates of the playground to be finally opened and when they did, they were like bullocks heading out to fresh grass. Just the way it should be.
An amenity for a community to enjoy for generations to come.