Bigger and better: community spirit prevails after fire gutted GAA hall

Donagh Clubhouse 02


ONE YEAR ago, the GAA and wider Donagh community were left shocked as an overnight fire caused serious damage to the clubhouse in the area.

St Patrick’s GFC clubhouse had served as the hub of the community for 27 years, catering for events of all sizes and the fire, caused by its boiler, left a gaping hole in the area.


But, with fund-raising underway, hopes are that the clubhouse could be rebuilt – and be bigger than ever – by the end of the year.

The fire took place on Easter Tuesday night (April 2), 2013, as Mary Sweeney, club secretary recalled this week.

“I got a call that night to say that the firemen had come out, that there was a fire. I live just in the village, and I came down and the whole community was out.

“The hall covered births, deaths – all sorts – everything was celebrated in the clubhouse, it was a central meeting place so everyone was saddened by it.

“It was on Easter Tuesday night – it turned out it was the boiler that went on fire and that started at the back of the building behind the bar. That area was badly damaged and the roof was destroyed as well.”

Amid the shock that came with the fire was a clear desire to get things back up and running as soon as possible. Mary described that notion as ‘taken for granted’.

An architect was hired and plans drawn up – but things didn’t run quite as smoothly after that.


“We didn’t realise planning and building control would take so long, to be honest,” Mary explained, “We thought it would be up and running before Christmas, but we didn’t think it would be such a slow process.”

The pace is quickening, now, however, and with repairs to damages to be made, the introduction of a new bar will make the longer wait that little bit more worth it.

“With the new bar it’s a case of not having to open the main function hall – a place where the locals can pop in for a drink for an hour or two, and do the lotto. It was something we often talked about- so we thought now was the chance to get that done.”

Locals have already started working on the clubhouse – the roof is off and some of the walls are down, and tickets are being sold to raise the extra money needed. The Millennium Hall in the area has been used in the meantime – which the club are thankful for.

“We have tickets out at the minute for a draw on the July 19, the draw is for a £10, 000 first prize – with the tickets £20 each. Gangs of us are out selling at the minute – so it’s all systems go.”

The aim is to have the hall completed and ready for use towards the end of the year. Optimistically, Mary hopes September, though admitted October time is more likely.

“People are missing it – so it will be great to have it up and running again.”

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