Introduction to the Mill Project

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Introduction

The idea of changing the old corn mill into a venue for plays, musicals and other forms of theatre was first mooted in 1983. This was due to the inadequacy of facilities in Fethard Town at that time to cater for theatrical and art related activities. A Committee was formed known as the Mill Restoration Committee, comprising of representatives from Fethard Players Drama Group, the Hogan Musical Society, Macra na Feirme and representatives from the Schools. The Committee is a voluntary non-profit organisation, which was formed into a company limited by guarantee with charitable status.

Project

The project involved the complete restoration of the old corn mill in the town to include facilities such as a theatre, rehearsal rooms, indoor recreation facilities and meeting rooms. Detailed plans were subsequently drawn up involving professional services where required, voluntary assistance from architectural. firms ir the area together with assistance from AnCO

Progress to Date

The project was approved under an AnCO Community Youth Training Programme in late 1984 and restoration work commenced in early 1985. To coincide with this, an intensive fund raising campaign was launched by the Committee to meet the costs of the materials required. Substantial progress has been made in relation to the restoration of the building and,in fact, the work is scheduled to be completed in the latter part of 1988.

Costs/Funding

The overall cost of materials is upwards of £100,000. This is in addition to the labour costs which have been funded through the AnCO programme already referred to. To date, the Committee has succeeded in raising funds to the extent of £60,000 leaving a shortfall of £40,000 approximately. This figure does not take account of equipping costs, which are anticipated to be in the region of £20,000, resulting in an overall shortfall of £60,000.

Benefits of the project to the Locality

  1. This facility will provide a forum for the promotion of theatre and the arts among all age groups in the locality.

  2. Specific attention will be given to encouraging and developing an interest in theatre and the arts among young people and will involve close co-operation particularly with the primary and post-primary schools in the area. At present, there is a school going population of 800 approximately in the area.

  3. The restoration of the mill will greatly enhance the environmental appearance of the precinct surrpunding the ancient Augustinian Abbey, in line with the Fethard Development Plan.

  4. From an employment point of view,the project has, to date, provided work experience for 80 young people from the area and it is envisaged that the facility, when operational, will also provide employment opportunities.

  5. The facility will also provide recreational and sporting facilities to meet the community needs of the area.

Conclusion

The following gives a photographic and brief summary of the project from its inception. This very ambitious project will result in high quality facilities in Fethard to promote theatre and the arts. The community has clearly shown its committment and confidence in the development of this project as reflected by the very significant financial contribution, which has been forthcoming. We request that our application be given positive consideration at the earliest possible date.

Committee Members


Pictured at the launch of the Bumper Christmas Draw (October 1987)
when it was planned to make their target of £10,000 profit in aid of the Mill project.

The Committee members were:

Chairman Austin O'Flynn, Burke St. Fethard
Secretary Marian Gilpin, The Valley, Fethard
P.R.O. Joe Kenny, Rocklow Road, Fethard
Treasurer Agnes Evans, Congress Terrace, Fethard
Committee members Jimmy Connolly
Carmel Rice
Jimmy O'Shea
Mary McCormack
Michael McCarthy
Noelle O'Dwyer
Tommy O'Brien
Pat O'Shea
Marjorie Ahearne
John Healy
Fintan Rice




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