A visit from the famous Noel C Duggan
A visit this week to Boyle from the famous Cork man Noel C Duggan gave food for thought on all that we could achieve in our town. Following an initial phone conversation, Noel C had come to Boyle in August and was so impressed with plans for the town that he paid a return visit this week. For the younger viewers of this blog, Noel C is the man who put the small town of Millstreet in Co Cork on the map. He built the Green Glens Arena when no one had any faith in the 1,500 population rural town. His event center hosted the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest when the idea of the international contest being held in a small rural town in Ireland was unheard of. Now the Green Glens is home to a number of national and international show jumping competitions as well as many exhibitions and shows throughout the year. It gives great employment in the area. His business interests go beyond the Green Glens and he owns Drishane Castle, a large hardware store and a thriving structural steel business. 85 year old Noel C is as sharp as a razor and as fit as a man many years his junior. He never drank nor smoked and he is the driving force behind his empire. On his trips to Boyle, Noel C ensures he has other business “up west” before making his journey back home to Millstreet, all in the one day. Noel C sees many similarities between this town and Millstreet and is of the view that we are on the cusp of something big here in Boyle. Our win in the Enterprising Town Award, our natural scenic beauty and developments that are planned for the town would give him great hope for our future. Alas, the absence of a hotel is something he sees as a drawback, but in Millstreet, where there is no hotel, there are plenty of good quality bed and breakfasts who are “full to the brim” according to Noel C during the many events held in the Green Glens Arena. Hopefully the inspirational figure that is Noel C Duggan will return to Boyle later this year with more encouragement for the people of the town.
Boyle can benefit from commuter train plan
The story here on Boyletoday.com last Wednesday that a commuter train to Sligo may be on the cards is indeed a welcome one. The idea was first suggested by Boyle Chamber of Commerce and supported by others in Boyle in the late nineties but it never got any further after being dismissed by the rail company. There was disquiet also at the time by some locals that the train would bring people out of town to “shop in Sligo”. Thankfully in 2017, that type of non productive tunnel vision does not feature in the equation anymore. We have many from Boyle, who love living in our beautiful town and who work in Sligo but drive there every morning. Why not make it easier for these same people, and others who may move here, by making Boyle a commuter town to Sligo? If the breadwinners leave here daily and use the proposed commuter train to travel Sligo, families will remain – the same families who will fill our schools, shop in our shops and increase foot fall in the town. It’s a win win for everyone and a suggestion that should get the full support of the civic organisations in the town.
Distillery permission is good news for Boyle
Another piece of the Boyle resurgence jigsaw fell into place yesterday (Thursday) when conditional permission was granted for a Whiskey Distillery at the former Stewarts Mill in Mocmoyne. If this project comes to fruition, it will be a major attraction for the town and another source of employment. One only has to look at the success of The Shed Distillery which produces Gunpowder Gin in nearby Drumshanbo and their plans for growth to see what this sector can bring to an area.
The forgotten North West
Back in 2003, Boyle offered a free site to the then Fianna Fail Government for the decentralisation of a state department. The offer was ignored and instead the Government went on to secure locally the most expensive long term lease of the decentralisation debacle with the €800,000 per year lease (2010) of the building to house the Department of Social Protection in Carrick on Shannon. (Read more here). It’s now 14 years since decentralisation was first mooted and the lessons learned have put paid to any chance of rural town’s like Boyle getting the wished for “Government Office”. But in more recent times, and since Brexit became a common word, local Senator Frank Feighan has been making efforts to secure the London based European Medicines Agency to Carrick. When challenged at the time as to why Boyle was not chosen as a proposed location, Senator Feighan explained that Boyle did not have a building large enough to house the major English organisation. It would seem now that Senator Feighan’s efforts have been in vain as the area has once again been overlooked with news this week that the Government will make a €78m contribution towards the relocation expenses of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) if it moves to Dublin. (Read more here). The EMA would have been a game changer for the area if it came to Carrick. That will not now happen and we must continue to look to local contacts and people from the area who may return if we are ever to see a major jobs boost for the area.
Familiarisation with local attractions
On Wednesday, students from Transition Year in Abbey College visited King House in Boyle. No doubt for some of the students, it was probably the first time they may have set foot inside Boyle’s tourism jewel in the crown. If a survey was undertaken, chances are you would find that a large percentage of those who live in Boyle may never have undertaken the tour of either Boyle Abbey or King House and indeed they may also never have been inside Boda Borg in Rockingham. The Town Team, conscious of this fact, got a number of front line tourism providers (Bar personnel, forecourt attendants, retailers, etc.) together earlier this year to show them all we have in Boyle including the three aforementioned attractions. Hopefully they will pass on the information to tourists when asked. We can never tell others what we have if we do not know that information ourselves. Therefore it was encouraging to see the students from ACC visiting local attractions this week.
Declan, Mick and Seamus entered their local pub’s weekly raffle and to their surprise, they each won a prize: Declan a bottle of whisky, Mick a large turkey and Seamus a toilet brush.
The next week, they met again in the pub and talked about their prizes.
Declan extolled the pleasures of his smooth Irish whisky, while Mick reported that the turkey was the most delicious he had ever tasted.
Seamus looked rather glum when asked about the toilet brush.
‘It wasn’t that great,’ he said. ‘I think I’ll go back to using paper.’