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A Laois village with plenty going on – CCTV, defibrillators, new footpaths and tree planting


Donaghmore Community Alert Group and Donaghmore Tidy Towns joined forces on Monday night last to express thanks to those who contributed to the projects undertaken in the small historic village over the past couple of years at a gathering in the Swallows Quarter.

Recent major improvements locally included the installation of CCTV cameras and the funding of two defibrillators which were installed this month, one at the old mill in the centre of the village and the second at Donaghmore Workhouse museum

The village has benefitted from a number of projects undertaken with the support of Laois County Council and the hard work of a small but dedicated group of volunteers and it is looking better every year, according to Hazel Luskin, secretary, Donaghmore Community Alert Group.

Pat McKelvey, a member of Donaghmore Tidy Towns committee whose family has lived in Donaghmore for generations and a mine of local history, shared stories of his grandmother, one of the last inhabitants of Swallows’ Quarter and many other anecdotes of local history with the visitors.

The event celebrated a number of projects over the past few years which were covered by a multitude of different funding sources including local authority funds, grants, and other  donations.

Brendan Phelan, chairman of the committee, presided over the meeting. Appreciation was expressed to all those who assisted in the huge fundraising effort in the community in recent years.

Donors provided funding for an array of initiatives including: the installation of two defibrillators; landscaping and road refurbishment on Cork Hill at the entrance to the village and the installation of seating; restoration of traditional footpaths throughout the village and tree planting on the centuries old fair green.

The six people who had already completed training to use the defibrillators were presented with their certificates on the night. A further eight people are on the waiting list for the important training, Hazel said.

The donor organisations represented at the gathering were: Errill Tractor Run, and its hardworking fundraising committee; the Irish Vintage Engine and Tractor Association (IVEA);

Ossory Agricultural Show Society; Laois County Council community section; Tirlan Country Life Shop, Donaghmore. Cllr. James Kelly was also present while Cllr. Seamus McDonald sent his apologies.

Laois County Council’s community section was represented by Tom Curran; the new heritage officer, Tom Carolan; and the new tourism officer, Regina Dunne.

Cllr James Kelly presented certificates to William Aylward, Billy Byrne, Karen Curran and Michael Stenson. Certificates were also awarded to Paul Ryan and  Sally Ryan who were unable to attend.

At the meeting a minute’s silence was observed for Jimmy Kilcare, one of the founders of the local branch of I.V.E.T.A. who died recently, and sympathy was extended to his family.

The proceedings ended with George Alley, a resident of the village, reciting his prize-winning poem about times gone by in the village.

Afterwards Jim Kelly of the I.V.E.T.A. took the attendance on a tour of the mill which was saved from dereliction and has undergone major restoration in the past couple of years, and outlined plans to complete the building as funds allow.

SEE ALSO – Check out all our coverage of the Laois senior football team here

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Caroline Allen is a freelance journalist based in Portlaoise. She has written for numerous local and national publications and lives outside Portlaoise with her husband Martin and sons Evan and Colin