We cover the Moone Boy premiere and an aptly enthusiastic welcome for that great ambassador for County Roscommon, Chris O’Dowd, alongside. The first thing that impressed this reporter about last Saturday in Lough Key Forest Park was the sheer magnificence of this tourist location, truly a jewel in Roscommon’s crown.
Have you been to Lough Key Forest Park recently? If you haven’t, a visit is highly recommended. We will pause here for that great, oft-used cliché – ‘the weather makes it’ – and there is no doubt that the sunshine is the icing which the tourism cake ideally needs. Last Saturday was a beautiful day weather-wise and it certainly was a big factor in making it such a memorable day in the Forest Park.
However, our, shall we say, unpredictable weather shouldn’t really deter people from visiting this stunning facility.
My childhood memories tell me, accurately or otherwise, that the Forest Park was a holiday haven of great wonder in the 1970’s – and before – and for a little while since. Dark days followed when the facility lost its shine; it was under-funded, under-used and allowed to fall into decay. Wilderness years followed.
Things became so bad that the point was reached where something just had to be done, lack of funding notwithstanding. A campaign that has lasted years was initiated. Locals, including present-day TD Frank Feighan, shouted stop. Boyle has taken some savage hits in recent years with prospective hotel developments being shelved, and the most high profile was the Ed Sheeran/Rockfield Corporation project, which was to include a hotel, chalets, leisure facilities and golf course, but eventually floundered on the rocks of the planning process.
Dispirited, the people did indeed shout stop and with the help of Roscommon County Council, state agencies and Government, a fightback began. Bit by bit the Forest Park has been rejuvenated, to the point now where its facilities are top class.
On Saturday there were easily a few thousand people there….boating, camping, holding picnics and barbeques….people from all over Ireland and indeed from abroad too.
The Forest Park, with its great enhanced facilities – including much to do for children and the whole family, with restaurant facilities too – was and is back to its former glory.
Issue dated: 17 August 2012
© Roscommon People