A GROUP trying to create an outdoor tourism hub in Graignamanagh is seeking €95,000 from Kilkenny County Council to build an all-weather playing pitch as the first phase of development.
The Barrow Valley Community Development Ltd is seeking the same amount from Kilkenny Leader Partnership and aims to contribute €9,500 from the local community.
Members of the group made their pitch to a meeting of the council’s Thomastown electoral area. Members agreed to give consideration to the proposal when the full council sets out its three-year capital plan in the coming weeks.
Located on an old pitch-and-putt site that is part owned by Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Vocational Educational Committee, the proposed 70m-by-40pm all-weather playing pitch would include a tennis and basketball court. The changing rooms and showers owned by Duiske College would form part of the facility.
Eventually it is hoped to include outdoor facilities such as an all-weather multi-games use area, climbing wall, high ropes, interpretive centre and zip wire across the river Barrow.
The hope is to create a “concentration of services” to attract visitors and boost business in Graignamanagh, explained Tom McDonald, development officer with Kilkenny Leader Partnership.
“That has been a problem with Graignamanagh tourism – it is a lovely place but you don’t earn a lot of money out of it, so why would you get involved?” he said of the sentiment that the town often meets.
And for locals, it isn’t easy to travel to Kilkenny to make use of the sports amenities there, he said.
The eventual development could also attract secondary school students from around south east Leinster for ecological studies on the Barrow, said Duiske College principal Pat Murphy. It could also cater for a Fetac level 5 outdoor pursuits course, he said.
“We have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people,” he said. “In 30 years’ time when we have all passed on from our positions here, wouldn’t it be great to say we made a difference?”