This annual All-island competition is run in conjunction with local authorities and aims to recognise and celebrate the efforts and endeavours of communities throughout Ireland, to make their place the best place to live. Past entrants have included groups involved in a wide variety of activities across the social spectrum. The common thread is the impact and difference made in peoples’ lives.
Four Limerick groups have been selected to compete in this year’s Pride of Place awards. Abbeyfeale Community Council, Newtown Cottage Association in Clarina, St. Mary's Parish Men’s Shed, Limerick City and St. Michael's Day Care Centre in Cappamore have been selected by Limerick City and County Council as this year’s entries for Limerick.
The awards will be presented at the Annual Gala Awards Dinner in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny, on the 30th November 2019.
Nominated groups will hope to follow in the impressive track record of Limerick’s success in this competition. In 2018, joining Limerick’s previous competition winners, first place award was given to The Children’s Grief Centre under the Communities Reaching Out Initiative, along with runners up Limerick Civic Trust in the Creative Place Initiative and Kilmeedy in the 0-300 population.
They have been entered in the following categories:
- 2,000 - 5,000 Population Category – Abbeyfeale Community Council
- Community Tourism Initiative – Newtown Cottage Association, Clarina
- Community Wellbeing Initiative – St. Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed, Limerick City
- Age Friendly Initiative – St. Michael’s Day Care Centre, Cappamore
Abbeyfeale Community Council
Abbeyfeale Community Council quickly grew from a fledgling Association in 2016 into what it is today - a highly regarded Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status. It instantly became accepted as the Umbrella Group for the wider Community due to its 20+ members who, between them, represent almost every other Community Group in the area. Organisations such as Abbeyfeale Tidy Towns, Abbeyfeale Town Park, Abbeyfeale Heritage Committee, Abbeyfeale Men’s Shed, Abbeyfeale Anglers’ Association, Abbeyfeale Sign Language Group, Abbeyfeale Graveyard Committees, Abbeyfeale Active Retirement Group, Abbeyfeale Tourism Committee, Abbeyfeale Christmas Lights, Abbeyfeale Business Committee to mention just a few, are all represented.
Abbeyfeale Community Council has been involved in numerous successful projects throughout Abbeyfeale such as; an E-Hub, Abbeyfeale Sign Language Group, Bio-Diversity Training Centre and Town CCTV System, Community Website, Heritage Plaques and Tourist Information Boards.
Abbeyfeale Town Park is a purposely designed 30-arce facility on the banks of the River Feale, which attracts over 100,000 visitors annually. The Park has the perfect combination of Meandering Walkways, Public Sculptures, Woodland Area, Children’s Playgrounds, All-Weather Mini Pitch, Basketball Court, Picnic Area, Outdoor Gym, Summer Sensory Garden and Public Facilities, to mention just a few.
Important to note that none of this would be possible without the dedication of Volunteers throughout the Community and the good working relationship that Abbeyfeale Community Council has with Limerick City and County Council and all other associated agencies.
Abbeyfeale Community Council: “There has been a real buzz about the place following the visit by All-Ireland Pride of Place Judges to Abbeyfeale and their interaction with over twenty five different voluntary, educational and sporting organisations at six different locations throughout the community. It was a text book example of the on-going successful collaboration between Abbeyfeale Community Council, Limerick, City and County Council and all the different local and regional entities that help to make Abbeyfeale a better place to live, work and socialise”
Newtown Cottage Association, Clarina
In 2015 Newtown Cottage Association Ltd. came together to discuss the building of a memorial to all those who had fished the tidal waters of the River Shannon. The memorial, called The Sailor’s Haggard was officially opened in September 2015. Further development to renovate a derelict cottage which local folklore maintains once housed a hedge school. The cottage was rebuilt over a period of two years, using stone from the area and reed for the thatching that was harvested from the nearby riverbank. Included in the site are the cottage itself, which houses a museum of artefacts from the local area, a boathouse and landscape areas containing a platform space for dancing and seating.
With enthusiastic involvement of local people, the Hedge School Cottage is used for many people, such as the celebration of festive occasions, meeting of local groups, poetry recitals, storytelling, Comhaltas gathering and the hosting of visiting groups from around the country.
Newtown Cottage Association: “We in Newtown Cottage Association are delighted to have the honour of representing Limerick in the Pride of Place All-Ireland Competition.
"It is a measure of the dedication and hard work of a huge number of people in the Newtown area of Clarina that the Sailor's Haggard and Hedge School Cottage got the recognition they deserve”
St. Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed, Limerick City
Founded in 2012, in the historic King’s Island area of Limerick, St. Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed has continued to grow from an initial membership of six, to now thriving with thirty plus members. In 2012, the Community Development Project provided the group with a meeting room in their building in Verdant Place. With the support of the Local Community Office and Limerick City and County Council, a new premises was provided in Nicholas Street.
Members learn new skills such as carpentry, gardening, painting, bee keeping and playing musical instruments. The Shed participate in local events and festivals and provide music for events through their Bodhrán group, who also visit local Nursing Homes to entertain the residents. The Shed has collaborated with various associations in Limerick such as Headway and Jigsaw, other Men’s Shed locally and nationally. St. Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed declare it to be a way of life.
St. Mary’s Parish Men's Shed: “The whole occasion was brilliant and we were delighted to be chosen to participate in Pride of Place for Limerick and thanks to all the Council and the IPB for sponsoring it.
"The lads spoke from their heart, we don't need rehearsals, and we were all delighted to show so much of the multiple talents that we have in St. Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed”
St. Michael’s Day Care Centre, Cappamore
Cappamore, a small rural parish situated in East Limerick, is known far and wide for its great sense of community spirit. This sense of community is nowhere more evident than in St. Michael’s Day Care Centre, which celebrated its 20th Anniversary in January this year.
This Day Care Centre services all of East Limerick, catering for up to 35 people per day. The Centre also hosts seven users from St. Vincent’s in Lisnagry. Their own staff look after this group but join the Day Care Centre visitors for all events. The Centre does its utmost to provide complete care for body, mind and soul for all who pass through the doors, giving them a place of wellbeing and belonging in an atmosphere of respect and good humour. Wellness is their aim and wellness is their game!
St. Michael’s Day Care Centre: “We would like to thank Limerick City and County Council for nominating us into the Pride of Place 2019 Competition and also to the judges for their kindness, friendship and interaction with our senior citizens and our special needs group.“