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A Long Introduction To Grange

My name is Grange. I am a place rather than a person. Despite this, I have a soul, a personality and a character, by virtue of my physical attributes, my history and especially the people who live and have lived within my boundaries.

 

I am one of the most beautiful and eye-catching places in the world. I am endowed with spectacular scenery - a variety of landscapes: hills, planes, woods and waterscapes, which excite my residents and visitors alike. But most importantly, tremendous people who live and work within my confines keep me proud of their lives and optimistic for the future.

 

I am located in Southeast County Limerick in Ireland. I am a relatively small place, but owing to my natural attractiveness and the great people who live peacefully and productively within my boundaries, I punch away above my weight or should I say above my few square miles of real estate and its modest number of residents. My northern-most boundary is about 12 miles south of Limerick City, demarcated by the wonderful Camogue River at the village of Lower Grange. I am reminded of years long past when salmon in large numbers swam in this river in Lower Grange and of the many fly fishermen who fished along its banks for this most prized of the fish species. My domain continues in a southerly direction through Lower and Upper Grange to my opposite extremity at the southern end of Holycross. In a westerly direction, I extend to include the townlands of Rockbarton, Caherguillamore and Ballycullane. At my eastern extremity, the perimeter of Lough Gur from Holycross to the eastern extremity of Knockfennel falls within my domain, as does a significant proportion of Lough Gur itself. My population is modest, extending to a few hundred people, small in number but rich in community spirit, work ethic, energy and achievement.

 

I am very old but also very young. It could be said, in terms of my age, that I am a billionaire in years, and I look forward to adding to this for a very, very long time. I weathered much seismic change in my geology and landscape down through the millennia and much earlier in the life of this planet, including a number of ice-ages, earthquakes and volcanic activity. Most likely, where I am located was in the early times of Planet Earth submerged in a global sea. My features today owe everything to my turbulent past. Believe it or not, I have volcanic rocks on my surface, particularly in the hills of Upper Grange. There was a time when my spectacular Knockfennel didn't exist and I was unable to gaze far away from its peaks to what are now other counties. Neither did the enchanting Lough Gur exist, through whose waters some of my boundaries run today. There was a time when my surface was almost totally covered by trees and a time when exotic and ferocious wild animals, now gone or extinct, roamed my surface.  How times have changed for me. I am now occupied by farm and sporting animals, domestic animals and pets and a huge variety of wildlife and creatures above and below ground and in my lake, river and streams. Migratory birds fly long distances to winter here every year.

 

My earliest human settlers arrived about 6,000 years ago, and humans have been part of my existence since then. The rich tapestry of archaeology that is to be found on and below my surface dates back at least that far. I share this richness of heritage with my neighbouring places. The Grange Stone Circle is of international archaeological importance, as are several other sites in the vicinity of Lough Gur.

 

My natural attributes are magnificent. However, what makes me, Grange, proudest is the calibre of the people who live within my confines and have done so in the past decades and centuries - hard working folks who strove in the past and strive now to care for family and community and who extend the hand of welcome to those who come to reside and make their lives in Grange. Over a long time, many have left my landscape to seek good lives in other parts of Ireland and overseas, including faraway places, and have done so with great success. I am very proud of them all. Some return permanently or just to visit, and I welcome them all back with open arms. My people suffered unspeakable hardships during the Great Famine and English occupation, similar to Ireland in general. However, history has recorded that Grange people were prominent in the Fight for Irish Freedom, and several brave local patriots forfeited their lives for that cause.

 

While I am endowed with natural beauty, many of my residents come together in an organised way to work on my surfaces in order to have me looking at my best always - consequently, I have beautiful shows of shrubs, flower beds and hanging baskets. Additionally, I am regularly manicured through grass-cutting, especially at my road-sides. All of this loving attention makes me the proudest of places.

 

My community is exemplary in organising itself to improve the living experience in Grange - the Residents Association, the ICA Guild and the Scouts are all active.

 

Sporting activity is of paramount importance to the identity and pride of any community. It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to acknowledge the wonderful sporting exploits of Grange people over many years, a tradition that is very much in evidence today. I am reminded of GAA games, soccer, rugby, equine sports, greyhound racing, athletics and much, much more, where local participants have excelled at the parish, county, provincial, national and international levels. Some well-known names have been acclaimed on international stages over the years and to the present day.

 

I have several neighbouring places and we coexist in great harmony and with mutual respect. The lovely town of Bruff is a nearby neighbour too. My philosophy is 'be and let be'. Our peoples share the enjoyment of what each of us (places) has to offer. It gives me great satisfaction when people visit me to enjoy the variety of my landscape or to visit renowned 'spots' of great historical interest, including what remains of legacy architecture, archaeology and my monuments. I suppose I have, understandably, become a little bit vein owing to my good-looks, rich history, popularity as a destination and the adulation that I constantly receive. I must work on my humility in the future!

 

As I said, I have a long history, but much of my more recent past is recorded in my book, Grange - People and Places, Past and Present, which was published in 2015 and may be read on this website. I am immensely proud of my book and of the many, many people who made it a reality. I have much more to be recorded, and I hope that my younger folk will rise to that challenge in due course.

 

I hope that my short autobiography will give the reader a good sense of what I am - a most attractive and interesting place, populated by great people. I am Grange in SE County Limerick, Ireland.