Oaklands Lake in New Ross is now recognised as one of the finest coarse angling lakes of its type in Ireland or Britain. It is one of Co. Wexford’s most important outdoor activity tourism destinations and has made important attempts to engage wheelchair users in the sport of angling.
The reviews of Oaklands Lake on the prebait website are a real sign that the committee have developed a high quality fishing attraction. Some of the most common themes of these reviews from users include “it was the best days fishing I ever had” and “this is the best venue I have visited.” The word “best” shines through so many of these reviews.
The most amazing part of the Oaklands story is that it is a community driven initiative. This wonderful facility has been built by a committee of local volunteers – not by a state body or by a commercial company.
Wexford Local Development have been proud to work with the committee of Oaklands Lake since Michael Browne came up with the initial idea of building a coarse angling lake in New Ross in the mid 1990’s. Wexford Local Development provided a grant of £37,000 (a substantial amount of money back in 1998) to support the initial construction of Oaklands Lake. A few years later we gave a grant of €55,000 to help provide wheelchair accessible facilities and to build the office and showroom. Under the most recent LEADER programme we were able to give smaller grants of €10,000 to install security equipment and update your marketing materials.
However the biggest job we have supported Oaklands Lake on in the past 10 years has been the new extension to the office and showroom, which was officially opened by Pat Rath, Chairman of Wexford Local Development, at a ceremony at the lake last night.
This extension was a big undertaking for the committee of Oaklands Lake and in recognition of our strong working relationship we were able to provide a grant of €30,000 under the LEADER fund which was 75% of the costs of construction. This extension greatly adds to the facilities available at Oaklands Lake. It makes the reception and retail area a lot more spacious and comfortable. The new catering area is a great addition to the services there. The extension also offers shelter to users during our frequent summer rain showers – this is particularly important for wheelchair users who would previously have been caught out in the rain.
Of course LEADER grant funding is not Wexford Local Development’s only involvement with Oaklands Lake. For the past number of years we have been the group who has delivered the TUS scheme in Co. Wexford. The new retail and catering area at Oaklands Lake is being very capably run by one of our own TUS participants. We also support Oaklands Lake under the Rural Social Scheme.
Wexford Local Development has provided over €1.8 million in grant aid since 2009 to help develop the tourism sector in Co. Wexford. The spin off benefits to the local economy from projects we have supported, such as Oaklands Lake, are huge. Every angler that visits Oaklands Lake facility is shopping in our local shops, eating in our local restaurants, drinking in our local pubs and staying in our local b&b’s. Tourism is making an important contribution to Co. Wexford and we hope to continue to work with Oaklands Lake and all other tourism businesses in the county for the benefit of Co. Wexford.