BY JACKIE KEOGH
THE opening of a €5.5m pool was not only a great day for the people of Dunmanway, but Cork County Council employees got to move into their new area offices as well.
Former Labour TD, Michael McCarthy, had the distinction of being the first person into the new pool last weekend. He told The Southern Star: ‘There was a really ecstatic atmosphere, but there was a sense of nostalgia too, seeing the old pool close. But I can only hope the new pool will provide as many years of happiness and fond memories as the old pool did.’
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) was also in attendance on the first day of business on Monday last and said he believes the new complex – which includes office space for the Council’s area offices – will be ‘a catalyst for the town’ and put Dunmanway at the centre of sports and recreation in West Cork.
Local woman and pool manager, Jennifer Deasy, said the facility will not only provide for recreational swimming but also a variety of activities including adult and children’s swimming lessons, aqua aerobics and pool birthday parties, along with swimming galas and intensive lane and triathlon training.
She said the 40 members of the swimming club, the West Cork Orcas, which was formed in 2016, will also use the pool for training purposes three times a week. But Jennifer Deasy insisted: ‘It is not all about being a super swimmer, it is about getting in and having fun too.’
In addition to the 25m swimming pool, the facility has a toddler pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a steam room and a sauna.
Meanwhile, the final touches to the shell of a 400-sq m gym – located on the first floor – are expected to be finished shortly and the manager expressed the hope that it will be fully fitted and operational by this time next year.
Jennifer Deasy said the complex has a lift so the gym will be accessible to people with special needs and disabilities.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF), who is from Dunmanway, recalled swimming, as a boy, in the stream that runs adjacent to the new pool.
Cllr Carroll said: ‘There was always a little swimming pool there. In my day, it was created naturally by building a dam across the river, and mothers and their children would spend the warm summer days there. Now, there is a new state-of-the-art centre that is open to everyone in West Cork to enjoy.’