Abbeyfeale Railway Goods Depot 2022, photo by Maurice O’ Connell.

There was a great sense of achievement and welcomed progress throughout the Communities of Abbeyfeale and Ardagh following Minister Heather Humphreys announcement early on Thursday 6th January that Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) would be allocated €600,000 in funding to be used in the development of two major Projects at Abbeyfeale and Ardagh, specifically to fully develop the Technical Design, securing of Planning approval and other associated costs connected to the re-development of the old Railway Goods Depot at Abbeyfeale as a Greenway Services Hub, and Ardagh Station House as a Visitor Experience Hub. Both Buildings are uniquely positioned for this type of development as both are located adjacent to main Entry / Exit points on the Limerick Greenway.
Maurice O’Connell, Chairperson of Abbeyfeale Community Council, stated that this tranche of funding is hugely beneficial for a number of reasons, firstly as its geared towards the renovation of older prominent buildings adjacent to the Greenway which is wonderful news when it comes to the preserving of our built heritage, secondly, it will give these buildings a whole new lease of life and a new sense of purpose as busy Greenway Hubs, thirdly, it is planned that these buildings will be fitted out to the highest standard to include modern toilet and refreshment facilities which will be of huge benefit to the tens of thousands of walkers and cyclists travelling the Greenway each year, and lastly but by no means least it is a huge vote of confidence for both Communities as several of their respective Community Groups already have a strong working relationship with a number of different Departments within LCCC. This is another perfect example of fruition resulting from long term collaborative approaches on a number of projects.
Maurice also gave huge praise to the specialist Team within the Urban and Rural Community Deve-lopment Department at Limerick City & County Council for their approachability, insight, and dedication in taking on these projects and the huge amount of behind-the-scenes effort that went into preparing this Funding Application, the same team who were also responsible for the recently successful €100,000 Funding Application for the Abbeyfeale Town Centre First Plan.
Mary Kury, Secretary of St Kieran’s Heritage Association, was equally enthusiastic regarding the news that old Ardagh Station House will also benefit from the newly announced €600,000 funding. Everyone is looking forward to the next stage in the upgrading of the Station House following on from a recent project where the exterior work was completed to the highest order along with re-roofing, repointing of brickwork, stabilising the platform and the creating of a large car park. The 2.25-acre site adjacent to the Station House will be used for a Children’s Playground with further plans for a glamping site next to the old shed. Mary continued that Ardagh has greatly benefitted since the opening of the Limerick Greenway in July as it provides a welcoming and safe area for walking, jogging, cycling, skate-boarding and rollerblading. The Village has also had all of its footpaths renewed which we hope will further encourage visitors to come off the Greenway and into the Village of Ardagh – home of the Ardagh Chalice. Mary explained that the famous Ardagh Chalice was found at Rerasta Fort on 17th September 1868 just a short walk from the Village. Ardagh also has a number of shops and is a wonderful place to stop off for refreshments and something to eat.
Maurice said, “ We are very much looking forward to these new developments and would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those at Limerick City and County Council who have worked so hard to apply for these grants, hold meetings, set up zoom meetings and who have worked to promote the Greenway, West Limerick, and especially the regeneration of Ardagh Station House, Barna Station House with further works in the pipeline” .

Thanks to Maurice for filling me in on the project, and we wish them all the best with their continued success. It will be interesting to follow the progress of the projects.