independent

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Harbour makeover at Raghly

Emma Gallagher

Published 09/08/2014 | 00:00

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Christopher Harte, Michael Bruen, Desmond Carway, Mary Conway, Maureen Ewing and Keelan Harte at Raghly Harbour

It was once a busier fishing harbour than Killybegs in the late 19th century.

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As the years passed, Raghly Harbour in North Sligo began to fall into disrepair.

That was until locals got together to form a company that would save their historic harbour.

Extensive works have since been carried out and the harbour is operating for both leisure and commercial fishing.

Despond Carway set up the Raghly Harbour Development Company back in 2002.

He said: "Many improvements were needed at the harbour, such as increased berthing facilities, development of a slipway and essential infrastructure access.

"There are seven of us in the company and we worked for many years trying to secure funding for the works."

This was no small achievement, they managed to procure €1.4m in funding from various investment bodies, including the Peace Programme and Sligo County Council.

Despond added: "Raghly harbour was built in 1823, about four miles from Lissadell. It was extremely busy at one stage, having seven permanent harbour pilots on call all the time.

"That was an indication of how busy Sligo port was," he added.

The harbour also had a fish curing factory attached to it and served as a base for the Coast Guard until 1920.

Despond continued: "Without the investment and support of the local fishermen and the wider community, the essential repair works would not have reached their potential.

"Many people were involved, including local landowner, Murtie Donnellan, who helped facilitate dredging.

"Gary Salter from Sligo County Council was also imperative."

Various bodies including the Departments of heritage, national parks and wildlife and marine were involved too.

Despond said: "This was a project that brought the community in North Sligo together, one that they can be proud of for many years to come.

"It is very much a rural community here, there are only around half a dozen full time fishermen. We will try and maintain what we have and hope to get young people interested.

"There is also tourism and recreational potential, something that North Sligo certainly needs.

"Based on the fact that Lissadell House is open again, this offers a new opportunity. I want to thank the people who came to the 38 meetings and helped us get €1.4m, it was no small achievement and shows what a community can do for itself."

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