Meath Association June Report
The Association held its AGM on Tuesday 29 th April in the fine surroundings of Slane Castle. Prior to the meeting Alex the Earl of Mount Charles gave a wonderful insight into the proposed whiskey distillery at Slane Castle. He explained that barley grown on the estate would be used for the distillation process along with water from the adjacent Boyne River using eco-friendly processes. He further explained to James Nix the proposed procedures for utilising the spent grain and The Meath Association AGM had a great turnout on the 29 th April in the fine surroundings of Slane by products to generate fuel to help power the stills, provide heat for the castle, along with producing feed and manure for estate’s herds. The distillery will generate many employment opportunities for the village of Slane.
Jean Carr, Chairperson of the Meath Association welcome everyone including John Harnett, James Nix and James Leahy. John Harnett gave an overview of the modern day role of An Taisce and he thanked the Meath Association for the work they do in promoting the national trust and especially their work on the Boyne Navigation with IWAI.
The Ellison Awards were also launched at the AGM. These awards were established in 1990 to commemorate Canon Ellison a founder member of the Meath Association who ministered in Navan in the 1960s and wrote ‘The Waters of the Boyne and Blackwater’. The Ellisons recognise people in the community who demonstrate environmental awareness, and sensitivity to the surrounding landscape when renovating old and new properties. Nominations are now invited for projects from counties Meath and Louth which display merit in terms of environment, restoration, planning and design etc. Landscape improvements and gardens also qualify including recycling and school environmental projects. Nomination forms can be obtained by contacting the co-ordinator Margaret Monaghan at 086 6060770 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for entries is 30 th June 2014. The Awards ceremony will take place in November at Killeen Castle.
Following the launch our Chairperson had an extensive interview with Daire Nelson on LMFM radio in which she outlined the history and objectives of the local association and the criteria for nominating properties for the Ellison Awards. We also had write ups in the Meath Chronicle and Drogheda Independent. Jean would like members to continue informing us any historical buildings in County Meath and Louth that are falling into dereliction so that they can be included in the ‘Buildings at Risk’ database.
Sean Foley has been nominated as the Meath Association representative to sit on the Meath Local Community Development Committees (LCDC), which will have a key role in the preparation of Local Economic and Community Plans and will have considerable power of control over finances regarding the Leader and Social Inclusion budgets.
Phase 1 of the Boyne Greenway was officially opened on Wednesday 7 th May by Alan Kelly, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council Cllr. John V. Farrelly and County Manager Jackie Maguire. Margaret Monaghan attended on behalf of Geoffrey Clarke as the Meath Association representative. This section of Greenway is 1.7 km and connects the Oldbridge Estate to Drogheda town centre. It really is a wonderful amenity and an example of recycling as the walkway decking and fencing is fabricated from recycled plastic. The Boyne Navigation group, having completed the Sealock, are now moving onto the Guard Lock, near the Horse Bridge at Oldbridge. An Taisce, the Meath Association and Boyne Navigation Branch (BNB) are now involved in a process of consultation with Meath County Council in regard to the second phase of the Greenway from Oldbridge to the Newgrange Interpretive Centre.
For biodiversity month a walk was organised by Sean Foley on May 10 th at Oldbridge. John Ducie despite the numerous showers and unfavourable weather gave a wonderful informative guided tour during which he outlined the various habitats and native and non-native species of the Boyne Navigation. The heritage and history of the area was explained and he pointed out some edible plant species which the group enjoyed tasting. The walk then proceeded along the new Greenway to the Sealock and just as the group arrived at the lock the last paving stone was laid by the BNB of IWAI. John Ducie commented on all the meetings and negotiations the association had over ten years earlier to achieve this milestone, as title, insurance liability, technical expertise etc. all had to be established before work could commence on the navigation and just how much amazing work our volunteer organisation achieves.
The first of Christopher Gray’s social events takes place on Saturday May 17 th at 1 pm with a picnic (self-provided) at Bracklyn House near Delvin, Co. Westmeath. There will be a tour of the house, gardens and family tomb, courtesy of Sean and Mary Murphy. Following this we will visit another graveyard with a remarkable grave and then visit the Lefroy family for tea. Anyone interested in joining us should contact Christopher Gray at 046 9431458 or email Geoffrey Clarke at email@example.com
The Association held its first committee meeting since the AGM and the officers and committee are as follows:
Chairperson: Jean Carr Vice-chairperson: Sean Foley Hon. Secretary: Margaret Monaghan Hon Treasurer: Geoffrey Clarke Members: Brian Taylor, Carola Curran-Methner, Walter Ball