Castlerea – A town on the up this Christmas!

Last weekend was a busy one in Castlerea as Santa Claus switched on the town’s Christmas lights as part of a virtual ceremony on Friday evening before crowds flocked to the Christmas Fair at The Hub.

Local councillor and businessman, Paschal Fitzmaurice said this Christmas promises to be a very special one for a town that’s on the up.

“There has been a lot of very positive news in Castlerea recently and the town has experienced a huge uplift lately with the regeneration of a lot of local properties. The town has certainly been a lot busier over the last two years,” Paschal said.

There has been increased investment in Castlerea and surrounds over the past two years with funding granted for an outdoor performance venue at Somers Park and the continued running of the popular outdoor swimming pool.

“We have received significant funding for the outdoor entertainment area at Somers Park and work is almost complete on the outdoor dome, after Roscommon County Council secured match funding. This is a super venue for all kinds of different events. It’s not just for music concerts but also for markets and school events and much, much more,” Paschal said.

“This dome is one of only a handful in the country and I was delighted to be involved in the application. I want to thank the Council’s Arts Office as well as the Community and Enterprise section for their instrumental work in securing funding and ensuring the Dome would be constructed in Somers Park.

“Castlerea Rose Festival has also shown an interest in making use of this facility, which was also important in securing funds. The dome has also had lighting and power installed and will be available for free for groups across Roscommon”.

Castlerea’s outdoor heated swimming pool and its Enterprise Hub are other local success stories. Last summer proved to be a bumper season for the local pool while it is hoped to create a number of jobs at the Hub following the allocation of funding for ten food units.

“Further investment of €50,000 has also been secured for the outdoor swimming pool for minor capital works as well as €80,000 for the running costs for 2023. The pool experienced a record year this year with over 15,000 people visiting it from across the west of Ireland. I’m hoping works go ahead in 2023 to make the pool more inclusive and friendlier to those with disabilities and mobility issues,” Paschal said.

“Funding of €2.5 million has also been allocated for ten food units at The Enterprise Hub. I’m a member of Enterprise Castlerea under Chairman Benny O’Connell and those units have received huge interest already,” Paschal added.

“This is very positive and it is hoped that investment can create in excess of 100 jobs in the area. This is a new departure in creating employment in the food sector here and it is open to anyone in the west of Ireland”.

As Roscommon County Council prepares to grant the Freedom of the County to the O’Rourke sisters from Tarmon this week, Castlerea has enjoyed its fair share of good news in recent years. Paschal believes it’s part of an overall upward curve.

“There are a lot of positives in Castlerea. Apart from those recent investments we also staged a very successful Castlerea Rose Festival this year and we are hoping to build on that in coming years by bringing big acts to the town,” he said.

“Somers Park and the outdoor swimming pool are recreation areas for everyone in County Roscommon, not just Castlerea. People travelled up to 50 miles to enjoy the pool last summer and so it’s clear the investment in local amenities is paying off”.

Paschal paid tribute to local volunteers and businesspeople and all those who have put their shoulder to the wheel in recent years.

With the Christmas lights now illuminating the town and a number of projects coming online in 2023, the future looks very bright for Castlerea.