independent

Thursday 18 September 2014

Schoolhouse becomes 100-seater auditorium

David Medcalf

Published 28/01/2014 | 05:34

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The old schoolhouse in Glenbrien is back in productive action, more than two decades after the last class took lessons there.

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The building originally constructed in 1887 has been given a new lease of life, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers.

After the young scholars of Glenbrien NS left for new premises, the school was used for a while as a base for various activities.

However, it appeared in danger of dereliction when the roof began to leak in 2009 and it was closed down for reasons of health and safety.

Residents of the area then took the brave decision to refurbish and a grant of €46,000 from Wexford Local Development provided encouragement.

The job was completed for a total of €76,000 thanks to local fundraising and the efforts of tradespeople who gave freely of their expertise.

The result is not only a fine 100-seater auditorium complete with a small stage where once there used to be a couple of classrooms.

The third classroom has been fitted with a stove and is now used as a base by the thriving Glenbrien scout group.

The structure has been re-wired, re-plastered and generally modernised throughout, with the leaky roof problems also solved.

The building has been extended with the addition of toilets, kitchen and a store-room.

'It could not have been done without the help of local volunteers,' stressed proud schoolhouse chairman Billy Quirke, delighted to report that the project has been completed without any money owed.

The opening ceremony featured the return of former principal Mary Halligan, while the honour of cutting the ribbon was given to former pupil and caretaker Nora Cahill.

The rejuvenated complex is now available as a fully functioning community centre for meetings and functions.

Gorey Guardian

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