Wednesday 16 October 2019

New Ross workmen's club marks 120 years with big party

Denis Anderson and John Bennett, New Ross.
Denis Anderson and John Bennett, New Ross.
New Ross Workmen’s Club, committee members, front row: John Hearne, secretary; Tony Bennett, chairperson and Jim Howlett, treasurer. Back row: Alan Murray, Liam Connelly, David Shannon and John Bennett, PRO.

David Looby

Workmen's club members were partying like it was 1899 at a celebration night marking the 120th anniversary of the society's founding, held at the Kennedy Boutique Hotel.

More than 30 members attended the event, including Jim Howlett who is a club member for 62 years and Jim Crowdle, who has been involved with the club for fifty years. The informal gathering saw members reunited, in some cases, for the first time in decades. People travelled from Carlow, Waterford and Enniscorthy to attend the event and PJ Browne, a former chairman and several former members sent messages to the organisers from abroad.

The club has provided a social outlet for generations of young men locally and is one of the oldest clubs still in existence in the county.

Tony Bennett said this was the first event of the year organised to mark the club's 120 years in the town.

Originally based in The Tholsel, the Workmen's Club moved to Mary Street in the early 1900s, buying out the premises from the Tottenham estate in 2012, with support from Wexford Local Development and Wexford County Council. Among the club stalwarts in attendance were former chairman John Bennett, Denis Anderson, Ger Kelly and Jim Howlett. Everyone enjoyed a buffet meal and drinks. A special presentation was made to Jim Howlett, recognising his contributions to the club. Minute books dating back to the early 1900s were poured over, giving an insight into New Ross society at the time and the club. The handwritten ledgers showed various problems the club's managing committee encountered, including an incident of vandalism which led to one member being fined 2 shillings, the sum eventually rising to 7 shillings.

Trophies, including the Cherry Billiard Cup from 1946, were on display, along with photographs from down through the decades, including one featuring the entire committee who founded the club. The club banner was also displayed.

There are plans to display the minute books, the club banner and old trophies and photographs in the attic of the old Workmen's Club, subject to some funding being provided. Jim and Tony thanked the hotel staff for facilitating the event.

New Ross Standard