Today was something of a red letter day in Dunmanway as the town’s new state of the art €5 million pool complex was officially opened after many years of campaigning and many delays.
The new state of the art swimming pool officially opened today in Dunmanway by Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport together with Cllr Declan Hurley, Chair of the Municipal District of West Cork and Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Mr Tim Lucey. It replaces the old pool which was dated with limited facilities but is full of memories for people young and old as for many years it was the only pool in West Cork. It was a great pleasure to meet Dunmanway pool manager, Jennifer Deasy and her hardworking and enthusiastic team who run a full range of activities and classes in the pool.
Local woman and pool manager, Jennifer Deasy, said the facility will not only provide for recreational swimming but also a variety of activities including adult and children’s swimming lessons, aqua aerobics and pool birthday parties, along with swimming galas and intensive lane and triathlon training. She said the 40 members of the swimming club, the West Cork Orcas, which was formed in 2016, will also use the pool for training purposes three times a week. But Jennifer insisted: ‘It is not all about being a super swimmer, it is about getting in and having fun too.’ Meanwhile, the final touches to the shell of a 400-sq m gym – located on the first floor – are expected to be finished shortly and the manager expressed the hope that it will be fully fitted and operational by this time next year. Jennifer said the complex has a lift so the gym will be accessible to people with special needs and disabilities.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF), who is from Dunmanway, recalled swimming, as a boy, in the stream that runs adjacent to the new pool. Cllr Carroll said: ‘There was always a little swimming pool there. In my day, it was created naturally by building a dam across the river, and mothers and their children would spend the warm summer days there. Now, there is a new state-of-the-art centre that is open to everyone in West Cork to enjoy.’
The pool is a big boost to Dunmanway which has a great sporting history being the hometown of Sam Maguire after which the All Ireland GAA Trophy “The Sam Maguire Cup” is named which will be presented to the winning team for the 90th time next year. Sport is still very important in Dunmanway, the warm hearted centre of West Cork, and the pool complex is well used by local schools and sports clubs training the next generation to be safe and competent in the water.
Dunmanway-based independent county councillor Declan Hurley said that the opening of the new swimming pool marks an exciting turning point for Dunmanway and “will be a huge boost for the local community, as well as a huge attraction to the town.” The modern green architecture building, includes a 25 meter pool, toddlers pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room. Cllr Hurley added, “The new pool will act as a catalyst for the town and will put Dunmanway at the centre of West Cork for recreation, sport and competition and I thank Cork County Council for its commitment on delivering this fine facility to Dunmanway.” The old swimming pool is now due to be demolished to make way for additional parking at the new complex and plans are currently underway to develop a new gym to be in place later this year.
Many have campaigned long and hard for this facility and particular credit is due to local independent councillor Declan Hurley and former Labour TD Michael McCarthy from the town who worked tirelessly with others over many years to move this project forward and ensure the funding was in place from Central Government and Cork County Council. Former Labour TD, Michael McCarthy, had the distinction of being the first person into the new pool last weekend. He said: ‘There was a really ecstatic atmosphere, but there was a sense of nostalgia too, seeing the old pool close. But I can only hope the new pool will provide as many years of happiness and fond memories as the old pool did.’
The pressure is on now to ensure the project is fully fledged and completed as intended with the planned Gym and Cafe.