In 2017, the public open space at the bottom of the Cois Locha housing estate was a sad, sorry place to be. The area was unkept and unloved. The grass grew long and children could not play football or games. The small playground installed in 2006 had fallen into disrepair and presented a hazard to children.
The area had great potential though! A landscaping plan for the village that year identified the area for a community park. Direct access from the school and pre-school, and from housing estates in the village meant it was safe and secure. The mature trees and view of the lake gave a lovely backdrop. Pathways and playareas were shown on drawings of the area, and suddenly we had a plan.
We were very lucky that the same year CLAR funding re-opened. CLAR funding is provided through Monaghan County Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development to support the development of disadvantaged rural areas. The Development Association wasted no time, and applied for Phase 1 of the redevelopment of Doohamlet Community Park.
We were awarded funding of €23,250 to upgrade and extend the existing playground, but a further €4,100 was raised locally. A small committee of Cois Locha residents came together to deliver the project and raise the funds. A family fun day was organised, school bake sale, table quiz and ladies night. Local volunteers were drafted in to help get work done (even simple things like cutting the grass was hard work, but adults and children got stuck in to get it done). Soon the park area was teeming with enthisuasim and life!
At the same time the Development Association and Tidy Towns group applied for other grants to deliver subsequent phases of the project, and with small pots of money and the support of volunteers we were able to provide a goalpost, planting and landscaping (including an urban orchard), signage and picnic tables. In 2017 Doohamlet village also received Town and Village funding of €100,000 from the Department – as part of our match funding commitment we installed the gravel paths around the park.
Works commenced in 2018, and in 2018 Doohamlet Community Park was officially opened in glorious sunshine by Minister Heather Humphreys. This was a great day for our community – the preschool and school were involved, and invitations were extended to everyone to attend.
In 2018 we delivered the next Phase of the Community Park. the Development Association partnered with a range of other groups to secure Peace IV funding of €30,000 to install a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA). The MUGA is a hard surfaced area which can be used for a range of activities all year round. This project was supported by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
A very important aspect of the Park design is to support biodiversity and become more sustainable. There is a wide range of wildflowers in the park already, and these are encouraged. Areas of the park are left to grow wild, and only the paths and football area is cut.Doohamlet Community Development Association and Doohamlet Tidy Towns, with the support of the Rural Social Scheme and Rural Employment Scheme now undertake general maintenance of the green spaces, while Monaghan County Council insures and maintains the play equipment and park.
The park has been a huge asset to our community – is a safe place for children to play and for friends and neighbours to meet. It is just over 1 acre in size, but has facilities for all agegroups. It is open to everyone and free to access. Come and spend a while in our park!