An Urlingford estate is 75 years old this year, and residents – including those who have lived there from the start – are set to mark the occasion this weekend.
The St Mary’s Avenue estate was completed in 1937, built on the site of the Union Workhouse that was demolished in 1934. (The workhouse was built in 1852 at a cost of £5,300 plus £1,200 for the fitting out.)
Taking place on Sunday from 2pm, the day will include a Mass celebrated by Fr Ollie Maher at “The Ring” in the estate and a procession with a lone piper and a memorial reed that will be brought to the old Famine graveyard at the end of the estate. There will also be family entertainment, music by local performers including the Urlingford Folk Choir, a barbecue and a bouncy castle.
A pair of commemorative copper beach trees are also due to be planted, one in memory of former estate residents who have died and one to mark the youth coming on – as the day will celebrate all those who have lived in the estate over the past three-quarters of a century, from the newest born to those who have lived there since the early days.
A turnout of around 150 people is expected on the day, including members of the estate’s original families: Mary Ryan, Paddy Stapleton, Oliver Condon, Sean and Kitty Grace, Ger Grace (who was born in the family house there), Tom Beehan, Paddy and Jamesie Neary, and Jim Luby, who is chairman of the residents association.
Among those looking forward to the occasion is Joan Pearson, one of the event’s organisers. Not only did she grow up in St Mary’s Avenue, but her grandfather Josie Grace was involved in the building of the estate. Her parents, Sean and Kitty Grace, still live in the estate – her father’s family having moved into their house on his first birthday.