BEAUTY AND THE BEARD! Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh is pictured with local musician Aindrias De Staic in Shrule last week.Pics: Elizabeth Toher
Shrule shows its best side
The South Mayo village has been transformed under an enhancement scheme
LAST Monday a large crowd gathered in Shrule for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Shrule Village Enhancement Scheme. The project was jointly funded by South West Mayo Development Company Ltd under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme, Mayo County Council and Shrule Community Council.
Through a combination of joint endeavours, Shrule has undergone a major revamp and the winding village street that serves as a corridor into Mayo is justifiably proud of the way it now presents itself.
There was always a sense of great community spirit in the border village and the current workers — under the direction of committee officers Paul Gibbons, Ronan Murphy, Colm Mullin, John Tedders and David Hyland — carry the baton forward.
The work was carried out by Mayo County Council and private contractors hired by the council, and also by workers on the Rural Employment Scheme.
But it was the people of Shrule through their fundraising efforts, their provision of voluntary labour and their unflinching resolve to see the work carried out that made all this possible. And when it came to getting a celebrity to perform the official unveiling of the plaque the committee didn’t have to look beyond the village.
On an August evening in 2014 local girl Maria Walsh brought Shrule to a standstill when she crossed the Shrule Bridge arriving home as the newly-crowned Rose of Tralee.
During her reign Maria has put the village on the map and never passes over an opportunity to project the area in a positive light.
Last week she returned again to unveil the Shrule Village Enhancement Scheme plaque in the village green. She was joined by Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Damian Ryan, as well as elected representatives from the region.
Afterwards in the Shrule Community Centre, Community Council Chairman, Paul Gibbons, presented Maria with a specially-inscribed crystal vase on behalf of the people of Shrule in acknowledgment of her wonderful achievement.
Speaking at the launch, he also thanked his fellow officers for their tireless work over the years in ensuring the scheme was completed. But, in particular, he thanked the people of Shrule.
“This is your village and without your commitment and sense of pride this would not have been possible. When we sat down with the planners we told them we wanted a village plan for the people of Shrule because they are the ones who live here, and this is their village first and foremost. Now that we’ve enhanced the village we’re not stopping there, and next we intend to do work on all the approach roads.
“This is not a completed task by any means,” added Paul. “We’ll be seeking more funding and help from our councillors and politicians so as we can further improve the village and surrounding areas.”
Maria Walsh spoke of how proud she was to perform this official function. Addressing the younger members of the community, in particular, she impressed on them their responsibility to take charge of their own environment.
“I was nine years old and living in Boston when my parents came to Ireland and set up home in Shrule. Mum and Dad got involved in community activities here and it was from them I got my sense of pride in the place, and I also saw first-hand how Shrule people were so generous with their time and effort in getting things done.
“It’s because of the enjoyment I got from it that I would encourage all young people in Shrule, and in all other places too, to get involved. You will get such satisfaction when you do things that make your own community a greater place to live.”
Afterward all official functions were dispensed with as everyone who turned out on the evening was treated to tea, sandwiches and refreshments in Shrule Community Centre by members of Shrule Ladies Committee.