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Bandon gets deeper into plans for a temporary pop-up swimming pool

August 25th, 2022 7:10 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

One of Swim Ireland’s pop-up pools which might ‘pop up’ in Bandon soon, and can be used by schools for swimming lessons as well as the general public. (Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane)

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PLANS to bring a temporary pop-up swimming pool to Bandon will benefit all the community, according to a group spearheading a campaign behind it.

Creative Bandon is working on the project with the Bandon Business Association (BBA) and Bandon Connect and the proposal has already received support from Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan, who organised an online meeting with Swim Ireland officials and groups from Bandon last week to discuss how it will work.

Speaking to The Southern Star, Maria Walsh of Creative Bandon said it’s an idea that has grown organically in just a few weeks and she was inspired by a similar idea from a community in Wicklow which is hoping to have one of the pools installed there.

‘Everyone in Bandon wants a swimming pool and parents are trying to get swimming lessons for their children, so something like this would be very welcome. Families are driving to Cork city and Bantry for swimming lessons,’ said Maria.

‘I think we are the first in Cork to start looking for it and it would cost €20,000 to bring one of the pop-up pools to Bandon, so all funding options are being examined at the moment.’

Swim Ireland owns two of the pop-up pools and once the  community can raise the required funding, Swim Ireland will bring the pool and set it up for 12 weeks and they forecast that about 750 people could use the pool over that period.

‘They set it up to run for 12 weeks to run concurrent with school term times, allowing local school access for swimming lessons and to maximise the use of the pool as much as possible over the course of its presence.’

The pop-up steel pool holds 45,000 litres of water and measures 12m by 3.4m with the water heated to 30 degrees. As well as changing rooms on site, there is also a ramp and a hoist available, and several towns across the country have already hosted the pop-up pool.

Marie added that they would love to use it as an opportunity to assess the feasibility of a long-term pool for Bandon.

‘Pools don’t make money and it’s going to have to be something very community-based if someone in the private sector doesn’t take one on. We’re also reaching out to different groups around Ireland who run outdoor or indoor pools and we want to see what works and what doesn’t.’

Chair of the BBA, Hilary Farrell said there has been a gap of two years whereby children have been unable to access swimming lessons due to Covid.

‘A huge chunk of children will need catch-up lessons and a pool like this for Bandon will offer another area where they can avail of lessons, plus it will be fantastic for Bandon to have it,’ said Hilary.

Deputy O’Sullivan said this is a fantastic idea for Bandon and said the presentation they received from Swim Ireland was very informative and helpful.

‘They are very excited with the prospect of Bandon having a pop-up pool and the next step is that the Bandon groups will come back to Swim Ireland with proposed locations for the pool and they will then assess the suitability of these locations,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.

‘It was a very productive meeting and Swim Ireland will also give a presentation to the Bandon Kinsale Municipal District on the proposal. For this to happen it’s important that the local authority are on board with this too either from a funding point of view or providing supports.’

Deputy O’Sullivan added that it would be such a fantastic facility for Bandon, which has a huge population and it will help people both young and old learn how to swim, which he said is a crucial skill to learn.

‘It’s been a massive success so far in both Donabate and Fingal and there was a big demand to use the pool and I want to ensure it comes to Bandon as soon as possible.’

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) is also supporting the project and has asked the Council to host a presentation from the group at an upcoming development committee meeting to explain the pop-up pool concept and explore other areas across the county that could benefit from it.

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