It may have taken the best part of a decade to come on stream, but for the 150 or so onlookers inside Granard’s newly refurbished market house last Thursday, it was all worthwhile.
Seven years after a feasibility study set its wheels in motion, Environment Minister Phil Hogan was in town to re-open the landmark building alongside a new, state of the art community library.
Mr Hogan said while he was conscious the Granard project may have taken longer than first anticipated, there were many reasons for locals to feel rightly proud.
“An awful lot of community activity has gone on here over the years so it’s great to be able to see this building restored and a great community service in the form of a library for the people of Granard,” he said.
Minister Hogan said there were many reasons why up to €500,000 in State aid had been set aside for the project.
One reason was the fact that Longford still holds the highest per capita library visits nationwide. This is a testament to the hard work of County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds and librarians around the county including popular Granard librarian Rosemary Gaynor.
Longford Mayor Cllr Larry Bannon and County Manager Tim Caffrey both spoke at the event.
Tim Caffrey raised a cheer when he revealed had unsuccessfully tried to catch a glimpse of the refurbishment prior to last Thursday’s grand opening.
“I did try and get in here one day and they (builders) insisted on me wearing a hard hat, but they couldn’t get a hat big enough for my head,” he comically put it.
Outgoing Granard Mayor Cllr Maura Kilbride-Harkin fought back tears as she recalled her own family’s history with the building and the impending dissolution of Granard Town Council.
“I hope all of you will agree we are ending on a high note with the wonderful restoration of Granard Town Hall,” she told those watching on.
Based on the resounding reception she was given moments later, it was an answer she didn’t have to wait long for.