Granard Town Hall plans on track ahead of grand April re-opening

Work is on schedule at Granard Town Hall, with the newly-refurbished town hall and library headquarters to  be open by mid-April. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
Granard town’s newly refurbished town hall and library headquarters is to open by mid April, a meeting was told this week.

Granard town’s newly refurbished town hall and library headquarters is to open by mid April, a meeting was told this week.

County librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds attended a meeting of Granard Town Council to brief elected members about the ongoing works.

She said a relatively small section of roof apart, redesign works remained very much on track.

“Everything is on schedule and when it is finished it will be the flagship building in town,” said Ms Carleton Reynolds.

Last May, the Department of the Environment ring-fenced €500,000 for a project that has taken several years to bring on stream.

The following month, Environment Minister Phil Hogan visited the town to officially sanction the six figure investment.

Capital assistance for library projects similar to those in Granard had stalled, only for details of the refurbishment to be approved last spring.

“Funding for libraries had been closed and so when this money did become available, it was decided that it would go towards Granard,” said Mr Hogan at the time.

At last week’s monthly Granard meeting, Ms Carleton Reynolds said much of the library would carry an open plan feel, incorporating a seating area for visitors alongside high speed internet and email access.

“We will have a display area too and the bookshelves will be placed in such a way as to make the best possible use of the natural light,” she explained.

Like many other modern day builidings of its type, one of the more eye catching amendments is for a lift, providing access to the first floor.

Ms Carleton Reynolds said it was an important addition, but one the project’s design team didn’t want to detract from the building’s rich heritage.

“The stairs up to the old courthouse are being repaired, but for fire regulations they (builders) are putting in a second set,” she said.

With changes to the first floor at a premium and construction crews working to stringent budgetary controls, Ms Carleton Reynolds said plans were already afoot to mark its grand re-opening in three months’ time.

“What we didn’t want to do was interfere with the original building too much. What we intend to do is enhance it which we hope to do when we hold an exhibition there,” she said.

The underlying theme of that occasion, she added, would focus on Granard’s historic roots.

Precisely what that would likely entail has yet to be ironed out, though Ms Carleton Reynolds revealed there was “great interest” already being shown in the new look library.

Town Mayor, Cllr Maura Kilbride Harkin was among those to welcome the progress being made, singling out a special mention for the part played by Mr Hogan.