Michael Bane, Waterways Ireland; James Byrne, The Yard Hub; Brian Hughes, Abbeyshrule; Longford County Council Director of Services John Brannigan; Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Cllr Peggy Nolan; Philip Butler, The Yard Hub; Cathaoirleach of Ballymahon Municipal District Cllr Mick Cahill; Cllr Paul Ross.

New rural working hub to be developed at old canal stores

Contracts have been signed with Doyle Construction, a local construction firm, for the redevelopment of the Old Canal Stores in Abbeyshrule into a rural working hub, Longford County Council has confirmed.

The Yard Hub project involves the redevelopment of a derelict site within the village of Abbeyshrule to create a new village hub, creating space for economic and enterprise development and enhancing the first impression of visitors along the Royal Canal Greenway to the village of Abbeyshrule.

The final project will offer a mix of individual offices and co-working spaces. The project will also include a purpose-built unit for the Abbeyshrule Canoe Club.

Work is expected to commence on site immediately. It follows the appointment of architects de Blacam and Meagher in 2020 to carry out the detailed design on the project.

The old canal stores in Abbeyshrule

The Yard Hub project received €522,265 in funding through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) from the Department of Rural and Community Development under Project Ireland 2040. Further support from Longford County Council has seen the project advance to this stage.

The Yard Hub is located in the Waterways Ireland owned Old Canal Stores building, which has been empty for many years. The project is an example of the work of Longford County Council Regeneration Department, bringing vacant and derelict buildings in the heart of town and village centres back into active use. It is also in line with national policy: ‘Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy’.

Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Cllr Peggy Nolan welcomed the signing of contracts saying,: “These hubs are going to offer people an opportunity to work locally rather than facing long commutes on a daily basis. It’s win-win, because it helps us work towards a low carbon economy and creates a better work/life balance for our citizens.”

Chief Executive of Longford County Council Paddy Mahon said: “The Yard Hub will form an important part of the network of hubs that are being developed around County Longford. Each of these new hubs will help to rejuvenate and revitalise our towns and villages by bringing new focal points back into the hearts of our communities.”

This project is driven forward by the local community group in Abbeyshrule, The Yard Hub CLG, which has been working in the background to raise awareness of the forthcoming project. This ensures that there will be people interested and ready to use the facility once open. The group is also committed to ensuring a high standard of finish that reflects their ambition for the site. The commencement of construction is again raising renewed interest in the project locally as it moves towards fruition.

The Yard Hub is located in the centre of the village of Abbeyshrule, along the Royal Canal Greenway.