Turlough Playground named best public playground in Ireland

At the presentation of the ALCI award in the Titanic Centre in Belfast to Turlough playground were: Christy Hanberry (Creative Play Solutions), Cllr Blackie Gavin (Cathaoirleach Mayo County Council), Noreen Hennigan (Mayo County Council horticulturist), Peter Gill (Mayo County Council parks superintendent).

At the presentation of the ALCI award in the Titanic Centre in Belfast to Turlough playground were: Christy Hanberry (Creative Play Solutions), Cllr Blackie Gavin (Cathaoirleach Mayo County Council), Noreen Hennigan (Mayo County Council horticulturist), Peter Gill (Mayo County Council parks superintendent).

The recently completed playground on the grounds of Turlough Park House has won the award for 'Best Public Playground in the Southern Region' at the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland, during a recent ceremony in Belfast.

The playground was nominated as one of the best public playgrounds completed in the 32 counties of Ireland in 2018, winning the Southern (26 county ) award and achieving a Merit award for the 32 counties.

Funding for the Playground was provided from Measure 2 of the CLAR programme 2017, Mayo County Council and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, with support also coming from the Turlough Community.

Mayo County Council has achieved similar success in the past, winning the overall award in 2016 for the Ballina Town Park Playground. The judges were very impressed by the playground and commented specifically on the superb location, the excellent design and the quality of the build and the materials used. They noted both playing and learning in nature go hand in hand and that Turlough playground has got that balance right.

The playground was designed by Peter Gill, parks superintendent for Mayo County Council, on the site of a disused quarry. He noted that the design considered a concept known as ‘natural play’ where not alone does the play equipment provide a play value, but the landscape in which the playground is situated, also provides a play value. Undulating ground containing rolling waving hills provides children with a natural setting in which to play, learn and thrive.

Speaking following the playground’s success, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Blackie Gavin, commended those involved, saying: "It is fantastic to see the playground in Turlough acknowledged for such a prestigious award. Much of its success is owed to Noreen Hennigan, the Mayo County Council horticulturist based at Turlough House, and Peter Gill, the parks superintendent for Mayo. Without their knowledge and hard work, and the hard work of many more, the playground would not be the success that it is.”

Peter Hynes, chief executive of Mayo County Council, added: "Outdoor play is a very important aspect of living in Mayo and the Public Playground in the grounds of Turlough House is another fine example of what is on offer in Mayo. Much hard work and ingenuity has gone in to the creation of the playground in the old quarry on the museum grounds and credit must go to all those involved. This is also an award for the local community in Turlough who have made the playground the success it is."

Mayo County Council, in partnership with community Groups and development companies throughout the county, has seen the development of in excess of 112 outdoor recreational facilities over the past 20 years. These facilities include community playgrounds, Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA PARKS ), outdoor gyms, trim trails, a skate park in Westport and the synthetic running track in Ballina. This has amounted to an investment of in-excess of €15 million.

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