Athenry’s New Playground – 2004

Home » Library » The Athenry Journal » Record

Members of the Playground Development Group

Back row: Ann Reaney, Michael Coppinger, Cllr. Peter Feeney, Patricia O’Grady, Eugene Cloonan (guest), Claire Lundin and John Eagle.

Front row: Teresa Coppinger, Galway County Mayor Willie Burke and Claire Parr. Missing from photograph: Emer Eagle.

Santa came early to the children of Athenry Parish for the official opening of the new Athenry Playground – 18th December, 2004.

Claire Reaney at the official opening of the Athenry Playground — smiling in the rain. Photograph courtesy of the Connacht Tribune

It all began in March 2002 when the Playground Development Group made contact with Mr. Jim Cullen, Director of Civic Amenities in Galway County Council, regarding Athenry’s lacking facilities for recreational play for our children.

Neither Jim nor the group could have envisaged how much contact there would be between us in the ensuing years! Jim has been a great asset to our group in his role within the Council and he took a huge personal interest in this project.

There were times when we felt that it may be too difficult a project but with Jim’s encouragement we persevered, and we are so glad that we did.

Supporting Jim, we worked closely with John Diskin, Senior Engineer, Enda Gallagher, Engineer, Christy Mannion, Overseer and his crew.

When we faced challenges, we could always depend on the phenomenal support of Galway County Council to help us through.

Local man Peter Feeney wore three hats. He was the chairman of the Athenry Community Council, Councilor in the Galway County Council and a hardworking member of the Athenry Playground Development Group. Peter has been a friend and our voice in the Galway County Council. He was a facilitator between the Playground Group and the Council.

Peter was a very willing pawn and is to be commended on how effortlessly and quietly he carried out his duties. There is no doubt that Peter has been hugely influential in our quest for a play facility.

it was in Peter’s role as chairman of Athenry Community Council that we first approached him seeking a suitable site. They came up trumps and provided our town with an unrivalled unique site. Without this site we could not have moved forward. It not only fits the criteria of a safe location for a children’s playground but also offers an enhanced amenity for the parish as a whole.

The equipment contractor was Christy Hansberry of Wooden Delights. Christy undertook this project not realizing how much input would be required of him. He went far beyond the remit of sourcing and installing this playground by offering us support and guidance in his capacity as playground supplier.

There was a requirement to ensure that the equipment would be in keeping with its historic surrounds. I am sure you will all agree that Christy met this challenge by devising a layout and sourcing equipment that complimented the areas unique heritage.

This project required substantial funding and again Galway County Council made a huge contribution. The remainder of the funding had to be raised locally and to this regard we wish to thank our sponsors.

We have been astounded by the members of the Athenry Playground Development Group’s extraordinary generosity from the church gate collection to individual donations. We secured from others professional services so generously and selflessly given to support us in our quest.

Given all the work that has gone into this project by many we hope you all feel a sense of ownership and our sincere wish is that the playground be maintained for its integrity. We ask the children to use this facility with care and we beseech the parents the adults of our parish to act as guardians so that this facility will remain for many, many years to come.

The sights and sounds of the many children who enjoy this playground more than justify our quest, and are ample reward for the efforts of all. It is something we can all be proud of.

We hope you can play around for many years to come. Thanks Santa …

– –

About this record

Written by To be confirmed!

Published here 08 Jan 2024 and originally published Summer 2005

– –