Best Wishes to Grange Cross Residents Association
My tenure as chairman of Grange Cross Residents Association (GCRA) spanned almost six years. I was a founder member, elected as the first chairman on 12 November 2012. I stepped down from my chairmanship on 26 September 2018 for personal reasons. It was truly an honour and a privilege to serve Grange over those years and to have been given the opportunity and the trust of parishioners to lead the planning and delivery of several successful community projects over that time.
Those 6 years were enjoyable and rewarding for me, even if challenging for the most part - a period when much was achieved by GCRA. My wife, Dolores, and I are very proud of our contributions to Grange, and our wish is to continue supporting our community and GCRA in whatever way we can. We are proud of our locality and we continue to wish for good things in Grange. Of course, in more recent months, we became grandparents for the first time with the arrival of baby Mia. Our daughter, Sinead, and her partner, Garry, are the proud parents, and Dolores and myself are so happy for the three of them. Having stepped down as GCRA Chairman, I now have much more time to devote to family and, particularly, little Mia. I hope to fit in a spot of trout fishing during the 2019 season! I take this opportunity to review the GCRA achievements under my chairmanship, but before doing so, I must acknowledge the supports that I always had from GCRA members and the wider community and particularly my fellow management committee members.
Thank You All
Martin O'Connor, who was a most supportive vice-chairman during my tenure, is now the newly elected chairman. Mary O'Connell, who was a most efficient secretary during my years, has stood down from that office after tremendous service. Miriam Gallagher, who was a most effective public relations officer during my years is now the newly elected secretary. Frances O'Connell, who was treasurer during my years, always on top of the finances, continues on in that important role. I wish to sincerely thank Martin, Mary, Miriam, Frances and the many other GCRA members for supporting me during my chairmanship tenure, and I wish them all well and great success in their new or ongoing GCRA roles. I wish to thank Pa (Patrick) O'Connell, GCRA President, for his support and hard work over the years. I also acknowledge with thanks the great work of Pat Fitzgerald, former vice-chairman and founder member. In reviewing my chairmanship tenure, there are many aspects for reflection and I will briefly mention as many as possible. I suppose the stand-out achievements of GCRA over the 6 years, which still give me great satisfaction, included the following:
Grange Cross Residents Association Originally established as Grange Residents Association (GRA) Ltd, the association was subsequently re-named and established as Grange Cross Residents Association (GCRA) DAC. Grange Looking Well
There were ongoing programmes of work aimed at keeping Grange looking well. These included road-side (in the order of three miles) maintenance including grass-cutting, the introduction of shrubs, flower beds and hanging baskets throughout the locality, as well as general tidying-up routines, including participation in the Limerick County clean-up events on Good Fridays. Huge credit is due to Michael (Mickey) O'Connell and his co-volunteers and to those who provide the crews with hospitality in the early mornings. GCRA also organised country markets over a number of years. These were well supported in terms of stalls and attendees, helping to raise funds for GCRA activities.
The Grange Parish Book The publication of the very successful 700-page Grange Parish Book in November, 2015 was an enormous achievement by a small rural community, as acknowledged by The Limerick Leader. The significant revenues from book sales were used to fund or part-fund various GCRA projects. The book, Grange - Past and Present, represents an important legacy to generations of Grange people into the future. I was honoured as GCRA Chairman and at a personal level to contribute articles to the book.
The Grange Parish Book may be read HERE
GCRA Article from the Grange Book may be read HERE
My Article - Remembering Joe Ahern - may be read HERE
The 1916 National Commemorations in 2016
To the commemorate the 1916 Rising and to remember all of those men and women and children who participated in any way, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, GCRA erected
a marvellous Remembrance Garden adjacent to Grange Church. As part of the project, Limerick City and County Council resurfaced the avenue leading to the church grounds from the road. The Garden was officially opened by the then Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, T.D., on 24 April 2016.
An account of the 2016 Commemorative Event held in Grange may be read HERE
The Old Schoolhouse The old schoolhouse in Grange closed its doors to pupils in July of 1967. The attractive building, standing on extensive grounds to the front and rear, remained largely vacant and deteriorating over the decades. It was infrequently used by various community organisations over that time, but it progressively came to a state of very bad repair and was, therefore, unfit for purpose.
Over recent years, GCRA, working closely with Limerick City and County Council and with great local community support, managed to transform the property, externally and internally. There is now a good capacity car-park to the rear of the building, and a remembrance garden was introduced between the building and the car-park, where members of the community may have a tree/plaque planted/erected in remembrance of a loved-one/relative.
A number of rooms in the building were renovated to form an attractive and functional community hall. Remedial and upgrading works have been carried out to the building generally. However, there remains further essential and desirable works to be undertaken - no doubt, GCRA will continue to progress its agenda in consultation with Limerick City and County Council. The Council has been very supportive.The community hall is now suitable for various community activities and for the specific requirements of different community organisations. In recent years, Santa Claus paid Christmas visits to the old schoolhouse to meet the local children. In the future, Santa can enjoy much improved conditions when he visits. Over recent years, GCRA has erected a large external community Christmas tree with lighting and decorations, to the delight of children and adults alike!
Read Progress Report of February 2018 HERE
Read Progress Report of August 2018 HERE Community Defibrillator
A community defibrillator was procured and located at the said car-park in Grange, and a volunteer-based community defibrillation service was launched in 2018. 20 'First Responders' are trained. The defibrillator was funded through a local fund-raising initiative, when the huge generosity of the community was evidenced, not for the first time.
Read about the launch of the Grange Community Defibrillation Service HERE
Of course, GCRA could not function and undertake projects without access to funding. While Limerick City and County Council has generously funded or co-funded works at the old schoolhouse, the vast majority of GCRA revenues came from fund-raising locally. The people of Grange have been extraordinarily generous, contributing in a variety of ways, whether through direct donations or supporting general and specific fund-raising events. Businesses in the locality and beyond have also been very generous. For example, businesses contribute a large proportion of the cost of producing our parish book in 2015. GCRA fundraising events such as the annual dance at Kirby's Hunting Lodge and the sponsored walk at the Cliffs of Moher in 2018 have been well supported locally and by friends in neighbouring localities. These successes have permitted GCRA to make handsome donations to deserving Limerick organisations such as Milford Hospice and Limerick Suicide Watch.
Read about a GCRA fund raising dance in conjunction with Milford Hospice HERE
Read about a GCRA presentation to Limerick Suicide Watch HERE
The Grange Parish Website GCRA has supported the Grange Parish Website which was launched in mid-2017.
An so, in conclusion, I again thank those with whom I had the pleasure of working closely over almost 6 years for their unstinting support and hard work for the benefit of our community. May the Grange star continue to rise into the long term future. Sincerest thanks to all from Dolores and myself. Kieran Hourigan, Former GCRA Chairman