AFTER serving the swimming needs of both children and adults in the Bandon area for 30 years, Phil and Charley Ryan finally closed the doors at their Grove Leisure Centre on Friday June 30th.
Located at their home on the Cork Road, the leisure centre consisted of a 40 x 20ft pool and a sauna, and is the town’s only swimming pool.
The couple both feel that now is the right time to close and they have no plans to lease the premises to a third party.
‘We feel that we’ve been operating it long enough now and the time is right as we had been thinking about it for a while, so we decided to bite the bullet this year,’ Charley told The Southern Star.
‘It will free us now for a while as we were open five days a week for swimming lessons for both children and adults.’
Charley bought the American pool in 1976 for themselves and they had always been urged by people to open it to the public so they decided to do just that when they opened it for lessons in 1988.
‘We got great support from local schools in the area who used it for swimming lessons, as well as the general public,’ said Charley. ‘We got help from our friends, too. There was nowhere for adults to learn how to swim, so we were always very busy.’
With a team of qualified instructors, headed up by Lucy Desmond from day one, it’s safe to say many beginners and improvers were put through their paces in the swimming pool down through the years.
‘You have generations of families who have learnt to swim here and it’s lovely to know that people kept coming back,’ said Phil.
‘We have a group who have come here regularly for almost 25 years for lessons and they said they will miss it terribly. I will miss the people and activity around the place and we got to know the names of everyone coming through. People liked coming here as the garden is lovely too. People have been sending us flowers and wishing us well.’
As they closed the doors on the pool on Friday, Phil and Charley would like to thank the many customers who came through their doors to learn to swim over the past 30 years.