Work starting on Clonakilty’s inclusive new playground

April 7th, 2023 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

An artist’s impression of how the playground might look when completed, hopefully by the end of the month.

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WORK has begun on the eagerly-anticipated new playground in Clonakilty. 

The playground, and a section of the car park, will be temporarily closed while the new accessible equipment is installed and improvement works are carried out at the existing site on Park Road.

Browne Brothers, who have been commissioned with its design and construction, expect to have the new playground completed by the second half of April.

The first phase of the build will include the new, state-of-the-art playground equipment, replacement fencing, re-surfacing,  and a new multi-use pathway around its periphery. 

A further, future development to the site will include upgrading the green spaces with new landscaping and seating areas. 

Orla O’Donovan from the Clonakilty playground fundraising committee said it was a thrilling time for everyone involved. 

‘Our fundraising events have covered everything from coffee mornings to a pink-knickered sea swim and a glamorous gala ball, and we are indebted to the local community and businesses for helping us raise a phenomenal amount towards this project so far,’ she said. 

Despite successfully raising enough to begin construction, the committee will need to continue its fundraising efforts to cover price increases and the landscaping of the new garden area. 

‘Our ambitions for the final phase of the playground, which includes the garden space, is very much dependent on additional funding and we are confident we will be able to raise the remaining funds to get us over the finish line. 

‘The playground will be a vitally important fixture within Clonakilty and we want to get this project off to the right start so that it can be a lovely communal space for families, visitors and everyone within the town to enjoy,’ added Orla. 

Many families, like the O’Dowd’s from Clonakilty, have had to travel to neighbouring towns to find suitable playground facilities over the years. Their sons Traolach (12) has autism and ADHD and Tadhg (10) has sensory issues – both will benefit greatly from its new, inclusive design according to their mum Sorcha.

‘We have had to find playgrounds that are suitable for both Traolach, Tadhg and their younger brother Muiris (8) so they can safely explore the equipment on their own and that’s appropriate for their ages and abilities. Unfortunately, the current dilapidated state of the playground in Clonakilty has meant it’s been unsafe and dangerous for many children to play in, with some items of equipment missing. 

‘We are all very excited about the new playground in Clonakilty as there is a lack of public places for children to hang out in that helps nurture their development and independence while also being autism-friendly.’

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