Full steam ahead to restore former train station

FOR decades Boher train station was a central point in East Limerick for farmers’ produce to be sold in Dublin. Now Boher Community Development Association want to make it the central point in their community.

FOR decades Boher train station was a central point in East Limerick for farmers’ produce to be sold in Dublin. Now Boher Community Development Association want to make it the central point in their community.

A major fundraising drive has started with the first of five monthly club draws for the refurbishment of the community centre to commence in Hanly’s Bar on Wednesday, July 4 at 9pm.

They aim to raise around €30,000 and have secured 75 per cent of the cost from Ballyhoura.

Owen O’Neill, chairman, said that people told them it will be very difficult to collect money, but they have got a tremendous response.

“In a downturn in the economy people turn to more local events and ask what can we do for our own community. We have a tremendous spirit in Boher. We’re calling to over 200 houses and we’re getting a tremendous reception on the door.

“There is a need for a centre for recreation. All local clubs and societies - bridge, tennis, GAA, Macra, ladies football, IFA, camogie, to mention but a few, will benefit from this centre,” said Mr O’Neill.

The building dates back to the late 19th century. In 1969, Boher Community Development Association purchased the Boher CIE station for around £1,000. In 1977, following fundraising for the renovation and extension of the building, the former station was officially opened as a community centre for the parish.

It was run very successfully for years but closed over five years ago as it needed serious renovation.

“If a place falls in to disuse windows are going to be broken, people are going to go in and write graffiti. That’s what happened,” said Mr O’Neill. Boher Community Development Association resumed activity in early 2011 and following much consultation, discussion and analysis of the requirements of the community, it was determined that the establishment of a focal point for residents of the area was essential.

“Since our last major fundraiser years ago we have quite a number of new people in to the parish and they are saying how do we get to know our neighbours? They are supporting us because they want to come to a central focal point and get to know their neighbours better,” he said.

As well as the draw - €20 a month for five months with a first prize of €1,000 per month - they also designed a calendar to bring in funds. The over 30 strong committee have organised a spring-clean of local roads; held a second annual fun day at Boher GAA field and are involved in a river walk project from Boher to Annacotty.

Work has commenced and they hope to have the community centre finished in September.

“There is a long history of the station being a vital cog in the local community here in East Limerick and we want to bring it back to its formal glory,” said Mr O’Neill.