The old swimming pool in Longford town was demolished last week after standing at the rear of the town’s Market Square for 47 years.
First opened in 1966 on the site of the Royal Canal harbour, the yellow pre-fab building became a familiar landmark to generations of Longfordians, many of whom learned to swim there.
“I have great memories of the pool,” local historian Noel McGeeney told the Longford Leader. “I used to be in there quite a lot and my family learned to swim there. It was great for the town because there was a great cameraderie amongst all the young swimmers. The Annaly Swimming Club, which had been based out in Clondra, moved to the pool, and it had the edge on a lot of other clubs because it had the use of a heated swimming pool.”
“I started swimming with the old Annaly Swimming Club there as a kid in the ‘70s,” said Bernie Byrne, a former supervisor at the pool. “It was a great club back in those days. I remember going to the pool in the mornings, and the ventilation system wasn’t great, so it was like walking into a fog! Mrs Mae Shiels was the lifeguard there then, and she and her husband Tommy taught swimming and water safety. That’s how all my family got involved in swimming.”
“Paul Devlin and myself ran our own swimming classes for children and adults in the pool there for years until it closed down,” Mel Magan, who was a swimming instructor at the pool, said. “The pool served the town and the county well.”
“I grew up around the pool,” added Barry Hall, who is now a duty manager at the swimming pool in The Mall. “There was great cameraderie between all the people who went there.”
See pages 26 and 27 of this week’s Longford Leader for a two-page special on the old swimming pool, on sale from Wednesday, December 4.