The final meeting of Ennis Town Council, the origins of which date back 401 years, was marked with a function held in the Civic Room of Waterpark House last evening.
Elected Members were joined by former colleagues and past and present Council staff for the event, which also featured the launch of a new publication detailing the history of Waterpark House.
The new Ennis Municipal District Committee due to be elected on 23rd May next will follow in the footsteps of the Corporation set up under Ennis’ Royal Charter of 1613, the Town Commissioners which replaced the Corporation in 1842 and the Urban District Council first elected in 1899, which became Ennis Town Council in 2002.
Among those in attendance at last night’s function were sitting Town Councillors Mary Coote Ryan (Mayor), Mary Howard, Frankie Neylon, Tommy Brennan, Brian Meaney, Paul O’Shea, Michael Guilfoyle and Peter Considine, and former Members Raymond Greene, Anna Mulqueen, Taio Matthew, Anne Arthur O’Brien, Joe Reidy and Michael Corley. Also present were former Town Clerks Eddie Power, Michael McNamara and Tomás Ryan, as well as former Town Managers Joe Boland, Michael Nunan, Carmel Ní Cheallaigh (representing her late husband Roibeard) and Tom Coughlan.
The event was also attended by Dr. Brian Blood, a direct descendant (11th generation) of Edmund Blood who as the first representative of Ennis in the Irish Parliament under Ennis’ Royal Charter of 1613.
In her keynote address to more than 60 invited guests, Mayor Coote-Ryan outlined the numerous achievements of Ennis Town Council and paid tribute to past and present Councillors and staff for their contribution.
She added: “I am grateful to the people of Ennis for the faith and trust they have put in us, their Elected Representatives throughout the years. We are proud of what we have achieved in developing the town of Ennis to what it is today. I also want to thank the staff for their commitment to serve the people of Ennis so professionally over the years.”
Ger Dollard, Ennis Town Manager said the Clare County capital town has been well served by the Local Authority.
He explained: “Ennis has shown remarkable progress over the years from being a relatively small county town to become one of the largest towns in Munster and is a pivotal location on the Limerick – Galway axis and proximity to Shannon International Airport. The population growth in Ennis has demonstrated the attractiveness of Ennis as a town and reflects on the work of the Town Authority over the years.”
“The name of the Town Authority may have changed from being an Urban District Council to a Town Council but the focus has always remained the same – to serve and improve the quality of life for the people of Ennis,” added Mr. Dollard.
Last evening’s event also featured the launch of ‘From the Big House to the Council Chamber’, an illustrated booklet detailing the origins of Waterpark House, its residents and its establishment as the home of Ennis Town Council in 1989. The booklet has been produced by Clare Roots Society and is one of a number of publications being prepared by the group in relation to the history of Ennis.
Speaking last evening, Clare Roots Society Chairperson Paddy Waldron commented: “The research carried out for the booklet established that Waterpark House is just under half the age of local government in Ennis, having been built some time between 1814 and 1824. As a private residence, it was home to the Pilkington family for most of the 19th century and to the Moody family for most of the 20th century, but was also briefly occupied by the families of Delahunty (to c1828), Russell (c1855) and Harwood (c1901).”
“It is fitting that this booklet, compiled by my fellow committee members Larry Brennan and Declan Barron with the assistance of one of our Diaspora members, Katrina Pilkington Vincent, covers the genealogies of the families for whom Waterpark House was a private residence as well as the more recent role of the building as a seat of local government,” added Mr. Waldron.
Meanwhile, the Council has announced it is compiling a Roll Of Honour of the Members of Ennis Town Council from the 1900’s up to the present day for display in the Civic Room of Waterpark House. The Roll Of Honour will be publicly unveiled during the autumn.