On behalf of Our Lady’s Well Committee, I would like to express our thanks to all who have been associated with this place of pilgrimage down the years.  In particular, to all who have come here each year for August 15th and kept this day as a special event for all the parish and for the many people who have come from neighbouring parishes, we say a very sincere thanks.  In a special way, we thank and welcome all the people who come home at this time of year to meet with family and old friends at the Well.

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to all the people down the centuries who maintained and cared for Lady’s Well.  Today, we remember the generations of the past with pride and appreciation.

The opening of the Millennium Park and the unveiling of a beautiful Sculpture is a very fitting way to mark the end of the century.  It also is a very suitable way to celebrate the beginning of the New Millennium in a place where people have gathered for over 700 years.

This project could never have been achieved but for the interest and support of all the people who have contributed towards this development both financially and materially. We thank them very sincerely and also the people from abroad who have strong links of family and friendship with the parish of Athenry.  Thank you for your generosity.

We would like to thank Coffey Construction for all their material help and services.  Our gratitude to F.Á.S. through the Community Employment Scheme and Galway Rural Development for their support and help.  We appreciate the many professional services of people who gave their time and expertise voluntarily to this project.

On behalf of the Committee, I would like to thank all the people who have made financial contributions to the parish collection towards this development.

Our gratitude to Seamus Cullinane and his finance committee for all their hard work and everyone who supported their very successful fund-raising campaign.

We are most grateful to Michael Whelan for his extremely generous contribution towards the Sculpture which is the centre-piece of the Millennium Park.

I want to say a sincere word of thanks to the members of the Lady’s Well Committee and all who help them to take care of Lady’s Well.  The whole parish is indebted to them for their interest and maintenance of a very special place.

Thanks to everyone for your interest, support and encouragement.

Tommie Quinn, Chairman, Lady’s Well Committee.

At the launch of the Development Plan

Left to Right, Back row: Paul Thompson, Dermot Monaghan, Martin O’Grady, Bob Zonenblick, Donal Kennelly, Gerry Ahern, Conrad Byrnes, Jim Flynn, Peter Seery, Tom Cloonan, Finbarr O’Regan.

Front: Fr. Tony King, Tommy Quinn, Donal Carey, Minister of State for Western Development and Rural Renewal, Christy Coffey, Florrie O’Shea, Maura Molloy. Photo: Connacht Tribune

We are glad to report that we, the Athenry Parish Steering Committee, have finalised A framework Development Plan for Athenry Parish. This will be launched on the 15th December 1995 by Donal Carey, Minister for Western Development and Rural Renewal. We invite all the people of the parish to this event.

In undertaking our task we sought views and suggestions from all organisations and homes in the parish. We wish to recognise the tremendous response received and to acknowledge that all these views and suggestions were extremely useful to us. An overwhelming wish was suggested for improved parish communications and for a Parish Resource Centre office. In response to this the Steering Committee initiated the Athenry Journal and the first issue was published in June of this year.

In our deliberations we investigated our successful parish developments. We wish to record our thanks for the invaluable assistance received from Glenamaddy Community Development Association, to Brian Mooney, Chairman and staff of IRD Kiltimagh Ltd. and John Higgins, Chief Executive, Western Development Partnership Board.

At the initial parish meeting Donal Kelly and Louis Gillick from the ESB played a key role in guiding the establishment of the Steering Committee. Since then they have, unstintingly, assisted and supported us in many ways. We wish to record that our task could not have been achieved without their help.

The key recommendations in the plan are:

l. Athenry Community Development Association to establish a committee system of eight sub-groups to deal with

– Finance and Funding

– Agriculture and Farming

– Business, Enterprise and Employment

– Culture, Heritage and Communications

– Environment, Infrastructure

– Pastoral and Social Care

– Recreation and Sport.

2. Athenry Community Development Association to establish a

– Community Development Company

– A Resource Information Centre with professional staff.

– An Advisory Board drawn from representatives of the State Agencies, Statutory and Local Authorities.

The Committee systems of eight or more groups (as in 1 above) and the Development Company will share in the implementation of plans and projects. We have outlined in the plan how this should start.

We are confident that the implementation of this Development Plan will open the way to significant developments and improvements in the parish. However, we realise that this depends on harnessing the goodwill, enthusiasm and resourcefulness of all the people. Athenry parish already has a well-established track record in this regard and our proposals are directed at building further on this. Therefore, we trust that the people of the parish will welcome the challenge and opportunities that this plan presents.

Members of the Steering Committee: Gerry Ahern, Conrad Byrnes, Tom Cloonan, Christy Coffey, Jim Flynn, Fr. Tony King P.P., Maura Molloy, Dermot Monaghan, Martin O’Grady, Finbarr O’Regan, Florrie O’Shea, Tommie Quinn, Paul Thompson, Peter Seery, Bob Zonenblick.

Written by Lady’s Well committee chairperson Tommie Quinn.