Wednesday 27 March 2019

Community news: Blackrock Bulletin

Sarah Ryan, Drogheda, and Nicola McGee, Blackrock at The McGee School and Scoil Rince CosCeol School of Irish Dancing ‘LipSync’ fundraising night in The Carrickdale Hotel
Sarah Ryan, Drogheda, and Nicola McGee, Blackrock at The McGee School and Scoil Rince CosCeol School of Irish Dancing ‘LipSync’ fundraising night in The Carrickdale Hotel

Pride of place: To provide a coastal link between the Fane river, south of Blackrock and the Navvy Bank in Dundalk is on the wish list of the community in Blackrock as it continues its work to secure Blackrock as a top place to visit, live and work in.

Along with Dundalk and Dunleer, it was shortlisted for a prestigious Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Award 2018. A special effort was made by the community to showcase what makes Blackrock special to the three judges they visited in August. This Thursday the winners will be announced at the national ceremony but whatever the outcome, according to Larry Magnier of Blackrock Tidy Towns,

'The voluntary, sporting and business sectors in Blackrock have a already received a huge benefit in being afforded the opportunity to come together to showcase the village and the community.' They have all worked together to develop the village for the benefit of both local residents and visitors.

He said, 'having this effort recognised by being nominated for an Enterprise Town Award is a huge honour. Everybody is extremely proud of the fact that Blackrock was recognised in this way and are anxiously awaiting the results of the competition.'  He said that to win an award, 'would be a huge boost to all sectors as well as the general community here, and would vindicate the approach we have been taking to make Blackrock a top location to live in, to do business in, and to visit.'

They told the judges, 'we are continually trying to improve Blackrock as a place to live and also as a place to visit, with a sensible balance between both.' 'We all agree that a major boost for the village would be a coastal walkway/cycleway/greenway linking the Navvy Bank in Dundalk to the River Fane south of Blackrock.' Mr Magnier said that, 'any prize we might be awarded would be used to progress this vision.' Whatever the outcome, he hopes the Judges, 'saw how we all work together from our very different perspectives - voluntary, sporting and business - for the benefit of Blackrock as a whole.  And of course we hope that they enjoyed their short time in one of the most beautiful locations in the north-east.'

Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office, Louth said the enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit of the business community is very evident and the Local Enterprise Office are always ready to help and assist providing a range of supports including training, mentoring and grant aid. This competition will raise awareness of the impact the business community has on the local economy and the local community.

Paula Harmon, Bank of Ireland, Head of County Louth said, 'SMEs, Startups and community organisations are the backbone of the local economy and a significant driver of the country's success and spirit.' 'Local business owners and community groups want to see their town doing well, and there is nothing like a bit of healthy competition to motivate people to put their best foot forward. I am excited to see some really strong entries from Louth and know they will do the entire county proud.'

A busy year

The Blackrock Tourism and Development group completed their exerting and varied calendar of events for the year with the staging of the village's Halloween Pumpkin Festival. An estimated crowd of between 1,000 and 1,500 either took part or attended the family orientated event.

This is an example of what the various activities either organized or promoted, or both, by the group bring to the village and generate significant business and income. Over the course of the year the influx of visitors is sizable from those attending the Saint Patrick's Day parade, Raft Race that the Tidy Towns Committee runs, traditional Fifteenth of August feast day, Film and Pumpkin festivals.

The Group is small in number and operates with the help of volunteers who play an invaluable role. It is important therefore to ensure that what they undertake is manageable and is within their capacity. So the Group is not looking to expand the calendar, rather to maintain and improve what they are doing.

So it's a question of the Group trying to rectify deficiencies and maybe paying more attention to different aspects of events. It is looking forward to running again the Saint Patrick's Day parade which is traditionally the start of the festival season in the village, and has proved very popular since being inaugurated.

Christmas Community celebration

The Parish Christmas celebration is set to go ahead again this Sunday December 2 with the switching on of the street lights and community Christmas tree and a visit from Santa. The programme of events will commence at 4.30pm in the top car park beside the Village Centre. Festive music and carols and seasonal food will again form integral parts of the evening of entertainment that will conclude with a fireworks display on the beach.

The street lights will be erected ahead of the event, along with the now permanent Christmas Tree that was purchased by the organising committee in the last number of years, sparing the considerable annual cost of an ordinary tree. The local church choir kindly provides the music and singing, with refreshments and food provided.  Adults are served with mulled wine and mince pies, with hot chocolate and cocktail sausages available for the children.

A school art Christmas competition, involving local primary pupils is run in conjunction with the event, and the prizes will be presented on the day. A raffle will also be staged to help defray the cost of the event. Local businesses are generous in supporting the event, but there are still expenses to be covered. Santa will make his customary appearance, and is expected to hand out presents to the children. They in turn are asked to bring along presents for those less privileged than themselves.

Party time

The Christmas party season is now in swing, and the parish's senior citizens and those who are vulnerable and living alone are not forgotten in the locality. This year is no different with the Community Alert Group organizing a dinner and entertainment for these folk, who reside in the area they cater for, namely Haggardstown and the Dublin Road. Like for the past number of years the venue for the event was Dundalk Golf club on Sunday last. It also is the venue for the Blackrock Senior Citizens party that was revived last year after a lapse, having been such a big feature of the festive season in the parish. This year the event will take place next Sunday.

Noel's latest publication

That man of words, Noel Sharkey has written and published a new publication. The local historian has taken out a new book of poetry, which like his previous works was undertaken by Noel to raise funds to care for those with the Alzheimer disease. To date he has accumulated nearly €23, 000 from the sale of his books. These include two books on the history of the parish, and a number of books of poetry. His latest work entitled "The Cellar of Memory" contains 30 new poems and the author's reminiscences of the local Pavilion ballroom as well as several pages of photographs. The Pavilion was for older generations a Mecca for dancing where all the top showbands and singers of that era from across the country and abroad performed. Situated at the southern end of Main Street, where now an apartment complex stands, the ballroom generated many happy and lasting memories and was where quite a few met their future partners. Copies of the book are now on sale at €5 each in Flanagan's Mace supermarket, Dublin Road, Centra, Main Street, Roe River Books, Park Street, Dundalk as well as from the author (telephone 0862567218).

New chairman

The Geraldines have a new chairman. Brian Cafferty, a former player who has been actively involved in the running of the club for many years, has taken over at the helm. He succeeds Stephen Thornton who filled the position for the last two years. The officers for the coming year are as follows: President, Father Oliver Brennan; vice-President, Father Padraig Keenan; chairman, Brian Cafferty; vice-chairmen, Bernard McIntyre and Alan Sweeney; secretary, Paula Hand; treasurer, Colm Prendergast; ex-officio, Stephen Thornton; registrar, Colm McArdle; Irish Language and Culture Officer, Eamon McEneaney; Insurance Officer, John Pepper; ASAP Officer, Eugene McCartney; County Board Representative, Padraig McDonnell; Health and Safety Officer, Paul Renaghan; Welfare Officer, Sadie McDermott; Coaching and Games Committee Representative, Tom Rogers, PRO/IT Juvenile Committee Rep, Fiona Corrigan; PRO/IT Adult Committee Rep, Alan Thornton; Social Committee Rep, Rebecca Kenny; Ladies Committee Rep, Brenda Rogers; Finance Committee rep, Seamus Spaight; Facilities Committee Outside Rep John Thornton; Facilities Committee Inside Rep, Tony McGorrian.  Clothes collection A clothes collection to help raise funds for Saint Oliver Plunkett School will take place this coming Wednesday. The Parents Association is organising the event, and is appealing for donations of clothing.

The Argus