The community of Ballygar gathered in the beautiful sunshine on Sunday, July 17th to celebrate the official opening of ‘The Courthouse’ the Ballygar Tidy Towns centre for community endeavours.
The building served as a Court of Law from 1850 to the 1940s, a Parish Hall from 1908 to the 1990s and a Credit Union from the 1990s to 2007. In 2014 Ballygar Tidy Towns committee purchased the building and restored the premises.
The former President of Ireland, Dr. Mary McAleese, officially opened the building in Ballygar’s Market Square, accompanied by her husband, Dr. Martin McAleese.
Michéal Naughton, chairperson of Ballygar Tidy Towns, welcomed the McAleeses on behalf of the community. Michéal thanked all in attendance for coming out on the day and also highlighted the hard work and commitment of the volunteers who contributed to renovation works.
Secretary of Ballygar Tidy Towns, Tomás Kenny, acted as Master of Ceremonies on the day, while vice-secretary, Diane Davies, led the Prayer of Blessing. The Athlone music group ‘The Bize,’ provided the the music, playing some of Dr. McAleese’s favourite pieces.
A poem was commissioned especially for the day. It was composed by Margaret Hannigan, a Ballygar native. The poem was entitled ‘The Spirit of Ballygar’.
Dr. McAleese presented an inspirational keynote address where she emphasised that “nothing was impossible.” She was later presented with gifts crafted by Christy Galvin, vice-treasurer of Ballygar Tidy Towns and Gary Mannion, Tidy Towns volunteer.