Oaklands Coarse Angling Lake in New Ross were the winners of a special award at the national Pride of Place awards in Ennis, Co. Clare.

The all-Ireland Pride of Place awards, run by Co-operation Ireland and a Pride of Place steering committee, were presented on Saturday night at a ceremony attended by over 800 people. The Pride of Place competition aims to recognise the involvement of the local community in all aspects of rural and urban regeneration, including promoting social cohesion, heritage and environmental awareness, across 32 counties. This is a very prestigious national award and is a significant achievement for Oaklands Coarse Angling Lake.

Mick Browne from New Ross Coarse Angling Lake pictured with the national Pride of Place special award
Mick Browne from New Ross Coarse Angling Lake pictured with the national Pride of Place special award

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. 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 Mick 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 marketing materials as well as a large grant of €30,000 towards the construction of a new clubhouse extension.

The Pride of Place special award is particularly a recognition of the commitment shown by Mick Browne who has driven the development of Oaklands Coarse Angling Lake for 20 years. The awards citation on Saturday night said the award was for “One man’s dream and his refusal to see his plans thwarted. His project is now a very well managed facility that attracts visitors from far and wide. The spin off to the local economy is considerable. The project is unique in Ireland providing an inland course fishing experience in a man-made lake.

Wexford Local Development would like to congratulate Oaklands Coarse Angling Lake on winning this special national award. We look forward to working with the Oaklands board for many years to come in support of the future development of this facility.