The redevelopment of Ashbourne Parish Hall began this week with a ground breaking ceremony today.
Parish priest Derek Darby and Ashbourne Hall committee chairman Frank McLoughlin had the honour of turning the first sod. Also present were other members of the development committee, which has been working on this project for more than three years, and representatives from Brierly Developments, the building firm overseeing the project.
The redevelopment will take just five months to complete, and the new facility will be ready to host meetings and community functions by mid summer.
Ashbourne Parish Hall is the only protected structure in Ashbourne and has fallen into disrepair over the last number of years. The building’s redevelopment will coincide with the upgrade of Ashbourne Main Street, also due to commence soon.
The overall cost of the Ashbourne Parish Hall project is in excess of €400,000, with €150,000 being awarded from Meath Leader and the remainder being made up from parish funds and community fundraising. Approximately €100,000 will need to be raised within the community to fully fund the project.
The parish hall is located between AIB bank and Ashbourne’s church on the main street of the town and was originally built and used as a church in 1834. The aim of the project is to restore the old school facade to how it was in 1889 when it was a National school.
The building became the village hall when a new National school opened in 1953. The original building will be restored and expanded to the rear to facilitate a wide range of community groups to meet in a modern spacious building.
It has been the venue for prayer, teaching, dancing and socialising over the centuries and the committee would like to see it once again become a central feature of the town.
As a listed building great care must be paid to the renovation of the building and work is due to begin in Spring and estimated to end in late summer when it can open its doors to the community once again.?
As part of the fundraising efforts, the Ashbourne Hall Committee will host a bakesale after all Masses this weekend, at Ashbourne and Donaghmore churches. A Michael Buble tribute concert is also planned, when Gerry Browne will take to the stage in Ashbourne House Hotel on 2nd May. All proceeds from this event will go toward the funding of Ashbourne Hall.