Community and sporting representatives with the judges and representatives of Limerick City and County Council at the Bruff GAA Sports Complex

Community and sporting representatives with the judges and representatives of Limerick City and County Council at the Bruff GAA Sports Complex

The many exciting developments in Bruff over recent years were all laid bare on behalf of the community when the judges from the 2015 Pride of Place rolled into town last Thursday morning.

Pride of Place is run by Co-Operation Ireland in conjunction with local authorities north and south of the border, the annual all-island initiative aims to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that communities make to society.

Limerick City and County Council has this year nominated four communities to represent Limerick in the all-island initiative. Kilteely is in Category 1 for population centres of up to 300 people, Bruff-based BGM Community Council Ltd. is in Category 4 for population centres over 2000, the Tait House Community Enterprise is in Category 5 (Age Friendly Initiative), and Scanlon Park in Castleconnell is in Category 8 (Housing Estates).

The judges Donal Connolly and Rita McNulty were met by members of the Bruff-Grange-Meanus Community Council led by chairperson Mark Nagle and at a formal presentation in the restored Church of Ireland Mr. Nagle and other community representatives set out in great detail the developments that have taken place in the town and parish in recent years. Bruff has an amazing story to tell as it battles back from the loss of a local factory, a bank and a post primary school.

That Bruff has recovered from that series of blows is an understatement and Mark Nagle in great detail outlined the recovery in Bruff and the exciting plans for the future to the captivated judges. Mr. Nagle spoke about the area’s rich commercial, social, educational and sporting tradition and outlined how all strands of the community were mobilised into ensuring a better and brighter future for the area.

Presentations were also made by Helen Clancy who spoke about Grange and Lough Gur, Ger Murnane on the Meanus end of the parish and Biddy Hayes outlined what is in place in Bruff for the care of people. Maurice Lyons of Bruff Tidy Towns made a presentation on the care of the area’s natural heritage.

On completion of the presentations, the judges accompanied by community representatives went on a walk about of the town first visiting the riverside park which has been painstakingly developed and maintained. From there it was on to O’Sullivan-Kirby Park, the former FCJ convent, now owned by Limerick FC, where the group was met by the chairman of Limerick F.C Pat O’Sullivan and the club’s CEO Kieran Judge.

Mr O’Sullivan and Mr Judge conducted the group on a tour of the grounds and buildings and reported the progress made since acquiring the property and plans for the future including the development of six full size playing pitches for soccer and the development of a permanent home for Limerick camogie and ladies football.

They also outlined their vision for the buildings including the development of hostel facilities. Already part of the former convent is in use with Bruff’s Men’s Shed using a section of it.

The next stop on the tour was Bruff G.A.A. pitch where representatives of the wide and diverse sporting organisations were present to meet the party. The G.A.A, rugby, soccer, camogie, hockey and athletics clubs were out in force while there was a very well attended Cúl Camp in progress on the pitches.

The Thomas Fitzgerald Centre was the next stop where Paul Dennehy, chairperson Bruff Heritage Group took the judges through the history of the Centre and its days as a courthouse when it was the scene of a landmark legal decision. He spoke of the Fitzgerald-Kennedy legacy and the close Bruff ties.

The visit to Bruff concluded with a visit to the Community Café where the judges were briefed on the wide range of activities that take place there by co-ordinator Angela Clancy.

It has been a busy summer in Bruff with landmark events like the conferring of Philomena Lee with the first Fitzgerald Bible Bruff Award at a ceremony in the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre, the annual celebration of Bloomsday, the only event of its kind outside of Dublin and the recent Summer Festival.

Limerick City and County Council were represented in Bruff by Bríd Burke, Liaison Officer Pride of Place and Martina Caulfield.

The Pride of Place results are expected to be announced in November.