Wednesday 22 May 2019

Civic reception aims to strengthen Enniscorthy and London links

John Burke O’Leary, John Barber, Master of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London and Annette McCarthy
John Burke O’Leary, John Barber, Master of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London and Annette McCarthy
Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy, David Jefferys, Katherine Ray and Ann Marie Jefferys
Tom Banville from the Local Enterprise Office and John Nolan of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London

Pádraig Byrne

The red carpet was well and truly rolled out at Enniscorthy Castle last week as the historic building played host to a civic reception for The Guild of Freemen of the City of London.

A group of over 30 distinguished active and retired business people from a variety of backgrounds were welcomed to Enniscorthy as part of their trip organised by Guild Master John Barber.

John has a connection with Wexford as his partner John Nolan comes from the area and together the pair have invested in the area and purchased property. The red carpet was rolled out at the Castle and the Enniscorthy Historical Re-enactment Society gave the distinguished guests a warm Enniscorthy welcome before they were given a brief history of the building by Rory O'Connor.

From there, the group were welcomed inside where they had the opportunity to sample some local produce with the likes of Jackford Gin and Cleverman beer proving a hit. Having already met with the group and seen them off on a historical tour of the town on a beautiful autumn day, District Manager Liz Hore once again welcomed the group to the Cathedral town.

District Chairman Cllr Willie Kavanagh joined in this welcome and thanked the group for choosing to visit Enniscorthy, where they were staying in The Riverside Park Hotel. He pointed out some of the major projects which were coming up for the town along with some of the fantastic artisan food and drink producers that are operating in the area.

'Enniscorthy is ideally placed to become the food tourism destination on the east coast of Ireland,' he said. 'We have ambitious plans for the town and district. We also have major plans for the castle and to develop a major tourism venture going forward.'

Enniscorthy & District Chamber President Maree Lyng stressed that Enniscorthy was very much open for business and open to outside investment, encouraging those present to take a look at the work currently being done, a point which was followed up on by Tom Banville of Wexford Local Enterprise Office. Ms Lyng also addressed the elephant in the room - Brexit - by saying: 'I know that Brexit is something which is around a lot at the moment, but people are also around and the relationships and bonds formed will always be there and people will always work together.' This point received a great applause from the group.

Master of the Guild John Barber said a trip to Ireland had been top of his list when he became Master.

'As a guild, we have travelled to Northern Ireland on numerous occasions, but we had never been to Southern Ireland,' he said. 'I came here for the first time thirty years ago and I realised that Southern Ireland is a gem. Enniscorthy is a gem. This really is a wonderful little town. Very few places can you come and see such a stunning Pugin cathedral.'

'John and I have invested and bought property in the area,' he continued. 'The place is growing and thriving and I think it's a place that hopefully our members will see and will take back the word and spread the word, come down here and see it. It's not a case of being frightened. Come to Southern Ireland and you'll have no problems.'

On behalf of Wexford County Council, Mr Barber was then presented with a beautiful piece of glassware to mark the group's visit to the model county and Enniscorthy for which he was extremely grateful.

Enniscorthy Guardian