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The Ardmore Enterprise Co-op

Ardmore Memory and Story - Life and Work

14. The Ardmore Enterprise Co-op
The Ardmore Enterprise Co-op was founded in 1989 and has gone from strength to strength ever sice, there being a lively and energetic committee.

Among the projects was a study of storm damage in Ardmore. A Tourist Plan gained a National Merit Award of £2000 in October 1996.

The organisation has been very successful in liaisoning with and procuring grants from national organisations, such as for instance, the National Heritage Council, and as a result, two thatched cottages were re-instated in the village.

The opening of a Tourist Office (in Mrs Perk's premises, formerly known as the Courthouse), the production of two tourist brochures and the initiation of the Cliff Walk took place in 1991. The Cliff Walk has ever since, been a major attraction in Ardmore.

In 1996, St. Declans Way was opened. This was the culmination of years of preparatory work and on a sunny July Sunday, the minister Bernard Allen officially declared it open. Richard Lincoln, James Moloney (founder of the Ardmore Scout Group) and a group of scouts, took three days to walk the route from Cashel to Ardmore and were present at the offical opening. A guide and map were also produced. Discussions are on going and quite a few meetings have been held with the Heritage Council about upgrading the walk as part of their Pilgrims' Path millennium project. Separate Co. Waterford and Co. Tipperary committees have been formed. The Ardmore group has been carrying out maintenance between here and Ballinameela.

The different aspects of Ardmore life that have been catered for by the organisations are quite extraordinary, from the funding of the Vegetable Growers Co-op, to helping to finance an all-weather playing pitch for the local school, to the provision of a branch office of the Youghal Credit Union and the initiation of a tourist stand on the Rosslare Stena ferry, this last development having now been taken up by Waterford Tourism. The Twinning Association was another interesting association helped into being by the Ardmore Enterprise Co-op.

In 1996 the innovative beach facility (incorporating lifeguard tower, tourist office, and toilets) building known more familiarly now as the Sandcastle occasioned a great deal of comment. In the Dungarvan Leader, November 29th 1996, there was a short article as follows:-
"The innovative beach facility building in Ardmore designed by Dungarvan base architect, Damien Dillon & Co., was recently featured in a number of major architectural publications. Architects' Journal, an English publication seldom gives coverage to Irish architects or buildings but in their October edition, the journal carried a full colour photo of the Ardmore Lifeguard Tower/Tourist Office. The photograph complete with write-up was shown alongside competition winners and substantial building projects such as a design for the German Foreign Ministry building in Berlin.

Such valuable coverage is indicative of the reception that this small project has received. Ardmores sandcastle building which was commissioned by Waterford Co. Council in co-operation with the Ardmore Enterprise Co-op was featured in the most recent publication of PLAN, the Irish Architects magazine. It was the only other building featured apart from the winners of the regional awards for 1996. The Enterprise Co-op was responsible for its innovation.

According to an agreement entered into by Ardmore Enterprise Co-op with Waterford Leadership Partnership, a new Local Employment office was set up in Ardmore in 1997.

St. Declan's Community Association was formed with its help both financial and otherwise, as it helped to improve the seating and other accommodation in the I.C.A. room, in order to make it a comfortable meeting place for the elderly people to get together once a week. The Health Board co-operated in this valuable social initiative.

Access from the lower levels of Ardmore to the higher levels has been much improved by the Dá Thig steps and the continuation upwards of Sir John's Steps.

An Arts weekend took place in 1998 and also the presentation of the Molly Keane Creative writing award (this also in 1999). Besides these there is also the more mundane work of the improvement in the water supply and sending a delegation to Minister Dempsey re our sewerage problems.

The opening of the Round Tower in Pattern Week 1998 was a fantastic success and it was repeated in 1999. This was done in co-operation with Dúchas and about 5000 people visited.

The initiation of an Ardmore Enterprise Centre is their most recent venture. Following prompting from the group, the County Council purchased three acres of land near Ardmore school, land zoned for industrial purposes to enhance the employment prospects of the area.

So our Enterprise Co-op seems to keep a watchful outlook on all aspects of Ardmore life. We never know where next they show their hand.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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