As always, laughter could be heard emanating from the new home of Wexford Working Men's Club on Friday afternoon. Perhaps a slightly bigger crowd than usual was present on this occasion, however, as the gang gathered to officially open the new premises.
In jubilant form, Chairman of the group Martin Haughton welcomed everyone to their headquarters. The amount of work that has been put in in recent weeks is evident with work benches and tools all neatly laid out ready to go. Watching over from a wall at the end of the room is a photo of Anthony Murphy, one of the founding members of the group.
'Sadly Anthony passed away before he got the chance to see any of this,' Martin explained. 'He was one of the founding members and we decided it was only fitting to call it the Anthony Murphy workshop in his honour.'
Also taking pride of place on the wall is former councillor Anthony Kelly, who was present at the opening and was honoured by being made the honorary life president of the Wexford Working Men's Club.
'Anthony was instrumental in getting things up and running,' said Martin. 'He was the one who got us going up in FAB and made noise for us when we were looking for a premises. He got us the use of the old Wexford Gaol before we moved here.'
Having endured a couple of moves over the years, the club is now delighted to have a permanent home. As well as doing sterling work on a whole host of community projects from Wexford's Little Free Libraries to flower boxes and planters for Wexford Tidy Towns, it's also a great social outlet and carries great benefits for those involved.
'We founded the club five years ago to tackle the fact that men don't talk,' Martin explains. 'Now we come in, we do a bit of work and have a bit of craic and we're all shoulder to shoulder and are here for each other. We have great craic and you always come out smiling.'
Speaking on the day, Cllr Tom Forde, who along with fellow councillors Tony Walsh and Davy Hynes was instrumental in taking the project to this point, said that Wexford Working Men's Club embodied everything a community group should be.
'It shows exactly what community groups like this can achieve with the support of Wexford County Council and Wexford Local Development behind them,' he said, sporting an eye-catching haircut having come from a charity event at Wexford Educate Together. 'It's a great example as to what a community group should be. From a mental health point of view, it provides a great outlet for the lads to support and look out for each other.'
The group are now set to meet three afternoons per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and are welcoming new members to come along and get involved in their vast array of projects, have a chat and a cup of tea, or simply enjoy a game of pool at their new state of the art home.