AN investment of €175,000 in St Colmcille’s Community Centre in Durrow was celebrated on Sunday afternoon last when the renovated facility was officially opened.
The honour of cutting the tape to declare the centre open was performed by two 98-year-old Durrow natives, Margaret Sullivan and Paddy Calvin
Sunday marked the completion of a two-year-project which commenced in July 2017 with the launch of a fund-raising drive.
”Each house in the parish contributed €5 per week for one year and that raised enough to cover 25 per cent of the development works,” explained Mary B. O’Connell, Secretary of the centre committee.
The remaining 75pc of the funds needed for the work was grand-aided by Offaly Local Development Company [OLDC] while the work was carried out by Joe Brophy Construction and the Chancery Group.
The works included replacing facia and soffit, doors and windows, dry-lining all walls, rewiring the building and upgrading the heating system.
The toilets were also refurbished and a new disability toilet provided.
During the course of the work it was discovered the building had an asbestos roof and this was replaced by original slates from the building.
The hall is at the centre of the community in Durrow and is used by a host of local clubs for meetings and gatherings.
It is also a source of solace to many families at funerals, offering them a place to reminisce and chat over a cup of tea.
Already the local Progressive 25 group are meeting there weekly for cards while the Ceili Club will recommence classes in September. It is also hoped that training courses will be facilitated at the centre.
Sunday’s official opening was attended by a huge gathering of people from the area and by the Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Cllr Peter Ormond, Deputy Barry Cowen and Cllr Declan Harvey, who all spoke at the event.
The newly renovated centre was blessed by the parish priest, Very Rev. Fr Joe Gallagher before the ribbon was officially cut.
The Chairman of the centre committee, Paddy Kinnarney also addressed the large attendance and thanked all involved in the development and those who had contributed to the fund-raising. Martin Daly of Offaly County Council spoke on behalf of OLDC which had part-financed the venture.
The centre was originally built in 1888 and was used as the parish’s Boys National School until 1944.
The boys school and the girls school amalgamated in 1944 and a new school was constructed which continues to thrive.