Abbeyfeale Town Park Invites Submissions

Pictured recently the Board of Directors of Abbeyfeale Town Park. L-R John O'Sullivan, Celine McNally, Geraldine O'Brien, James Harnett and Jim O' Shea. Photo by Paul Ward Paul Ward Abbeyfeale

Pictured recently the Board of Directors of Abbeyfeale Town Park. L-R John O’Sullivan, Celine McNally, Geraldine O’Brien, James Harnett and Jim O’ Shea. Photo by Paul Ward
Paul Ward Abbeyfeale

At a gathering in the Town Park on Wednesday July 15th, Gerardine O’Brien, secretary to the Management Committee, said: “We are looking to the future and how the Park can be developed on a three dimensional level – Leisure, Health and Fitness and Education”. She invited those present and anyone else with an interest in the future direction of Abbeyfeale Town Park to write to her before August 15th and outline any ideas they might have for the future development of the amenity.” Gerardine also paid tribute to the late Dan Murphy, a founder member of the management committee whose vision was “to encourage people to live in Abbeyfeale and to provide a safe leisure amenity that would also be a tourist attraction”. Looking around at the wonderful facility that has evolved and matured, it was obvious she said, that Dan’s vision had come to pass but that there was now the need to move forward with the future development of the park. Gerardine also encouraged people to log onto and then onto the link Pairc Cois Feile, the website of Sandro Cafolla who in February 1998 was commissioned to design a plan for the park. That plan forms the basic design of the park and will remain so, but as the plan is now 18 years old, the park committee believe that a review is required in order to assess progress to date and to plan the budget for the future. There was a robust discussion on the bio diversity aspect of the park with the wild flower meadow recently mowed because some people who walk the park at night had contacted the management committee claiming that the trees and high grasses leave parts of the park dark and them afraid to walk there. Anneke Vrieling, a local environmental scientist, founder of Feale Biodiversity and author of the definitive guide to the Parks flora and fauna explained that this was the very worst time to cut the meadow because the wild flowers would not have set seeds and the grass will take over and kill off what flowers have survived. She said that the wild flower meadow is there to provide a habitat for moths, butterflies and beetles and also provide cover and sustenance to the many varieties of solitary bees that are in danger of extinction. Some of the people present felt that this was a retrograde step given the present emphasis on climate change and bio diversity and the hope that the park would play a vital part in educating young people on the need to take care of the environment by encouraging school groups to visit. Moving further into the park we were told that the trees in the forested area are now 15 years old and were being managed in such a way that a number of non-mature trees would be taken out each year from now on which would allow replanting of native trees. Paths are cut through this part of the park so that people can take forest walks in comfort. The Park has evolved over the years and now includes two playgrounds, a fairy garden, a basketball court, 1916 Remembrance Garden, a picnic area, a serenity garden, a flood lit all weather playing pitch, a river walk and a forest walk, a car-park, a duck pond, forested areas, an administration building, a store house and more than a mile of tarmac paths easy to wheel buggies on, and recently a picnic area has been further developed. The supervisor of the C.E. scheme who manage the day to day running of the park, Jim O’Connor, said it was hoped to clean out the ponds too which due to lack of funding over the years had become overgrown. Anneke Vrieling asked that this be done in a phased manner so that the aquatic larvae have somewhere to go, in the same way that you should mow a meadow from the centre outwards so that the beneficial bugs and other wildlife can escape to the fringes. Some of the problems identified on the night included a possible need for lighting, and the lack of dog-poo bins and bags and the amount of dog-poo being left behind by irresponsible dog owners. Submissions to Gerardine O’Brien, Church Street, Abbeyfeale, by August 15th.