Rathkeale Online

community centre

The Community Centre

One of the first major undertakings of the Community Council was the development of a Community Centre and fund-raising and preparation of plans were put in hand early. Detailed drawings were produced before the end of 1973 and the minutes record that £1,200 was contributed to the building fund from the proceeds of the festival held that year. The initial estimate of cost produced by the architect was £50,000 - big money even by 1974 standards. A site was made available by the Limerick County Council and everything seemed set to go. However, con-currently with this project, discussions were ongoing with the Local Authority with regard to the old Courthouse. At one stage proposals that it be demolished provoked strong resistance from the members of the Community Council and suggestions arose that it might be suitable for a Community Centre.

Faced with this option, it was decided to proceed along these lines and plans for a green field centre were dropped. Reconstruction work on the courthouse commence in 1977 and the hall was made available in 1980. This became a huge task, for while the structure was in good condition, the entire inside had to be gutted. The building and fitting out of the stage became a project of much complexity and the successful outcome is evidenced by the high regard for the facilities.

A new entrance was opened at ground level and is now a prominent feature of the building. At this level also were the original old cells for prisoners awaiting trial, later used by the administrative staff of the County Council. This area underwent considerable change in the reconstruction and now consists of meeting rooms, kitchen for Meals on Wheels, Senior Citizens Centre and the Civil Defense. The old clock which adorned the front facade for over a hundred years could not be restored, but its replacement provides an excellent substitute.

FAS contributed to a large extent and an amount of voluntary help was also needed to complete the work. Many difficulties were encountered, especially the shortage of skilled tradesmen, and tribute must be pad to Michael Neville, foreman and all the other many people who took part in the venture. President Hillery formally opened the Community Centre in 1983.

2011 - Further re-construction planned in conjunction with West Limerick Resources. The installation of a lift, accessible facilities and reconditioning of stage lighting and sound.

If you would like to book any of the meeting rooms or the hall it's self for a function please email anne@rathkealeonline.ie

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