New Ross social club opens for town’s teenagers

‘1317 North’ will offer a place to go for youths with games, pool and more

Official opening of 1317 North street by Nicole Kinsella. Photo; Mary Browne

David LoobyNew Ross Standard

A newly created concept for a Teen Scene & Digital Hub has come to fruition and been launched in New Ross.

1317 North, as the name suggests, is a space for teenagers aged 13 to 17 years based in a refurbished vacant building in the town centre. The concept and social enterprise opened on Saturday, April 29, with the official ribbon cutting performed by national boxing champ, Nicole Kinsella (16) and singer songwriter Dakota Venn Keane.

The modern, furnished outlet – with free entry – hosts a tuck-shop, TV and green screens, charge points, free Wi-Fi, board games, pool and toilet facilities and is based at 4 North Street.

The original and ground breaking idea of youth advocate and PR consultant Sinead Dolan is backed by a significant commercial investment by Shawn Murray of Entertainment SP ltd, Saltmills and operated by a team of adults including Ciara Murphy, Lisa Davey and Laura Wall over six days a week. It has proven an instant hit with local teens from the town and district.

New Ross woman Dolan said: “This was a wonderful day for young people in the area and I am grateful to everybody who has played a part in bringing our idea to life, from the young people we consulted with, to Shawn Murray and his team of contractors, staff and service providers to Rethink Ireland for my training.

“It’s been a massive effort to make the concept a reality and while there may be a few tweaks required to polish the project off, we have done it, now to sustain it is the next goal!”

She said the purpose of 1317 North is to provide a unique, safe and cool space where young people could socialise and hang out together in a non-alcoholic/ smoke and vape free zone.

Shawn Murray added: “Lots of kids hang out on the street after school or in the holidays and have nowhere to go, like a teenager waiting for a lift in all kinds of weather or having to go into a pub to play a game of snooker or a girl needing to use the toilet.

"Now they have 1317North, a place they can feel comfortable in while actually enjoying themselves with friends too”.