Loughrea's people make the town great

Overlooked by the stunning Slieve Aughty mountains and surrounding a lake the town was named after, Loughrea is a rural town which marches to the beat of its own drum.

With 2022 census figures now correlated into interactive online maps, each overview builds a story about different communities in Ireland down to the internet access available to them. While it goes without saying that these overviews are just a glimpse into the different towns that collectively make up Ireland, the overview of Loughrea is one that I find befitting.

It tells the story of a local community which is growing, bucking national trends of population decline in rural settlements, one which has a big heart and the willingness to help society for the better, and one where hundreds of young people and children will grow up learning and adopting these vital traits.

Home to some 6,300 people, according to the 2022 Census, more than 10 per cent of Loughrea's general population (738 people ) engage in voluntary work. This figure is particularly impressive when you take into account that over 25 per cent of the population of Loughrea are children. To those unfamiliar with Loughrea, this may seem almost unbelievable, but for those who know the town and the incredible people who live there, it is all too real.

Summing up all of the different voluntary groups operating within the town would be a difficult task, an impossible one if there is a word count, but for this feature, we have endeavoured to amplify and recognise the works of such groups.

Groups like Loughrea Tidy Towns, who have transformed the town, bringing together its residents and uniting everyone under a common goal - to be proud of Loughrea. Or the Loughrea Arts, Recreation & Culture group, which has spent nearly a decade campaigning to restore Loughrea Town Hall, facilitating the return of a vital hub for the local community. Or the volunteers of the Loughrea Family and Community Resource Centre, which provides invaluable support to the local community, or the volunteer team from the local Jack and Jill Foundation shop and the St Vincent De Paul shop.

This good nature is not just confined to volunteers, but to local businesses, who put their money where their mouth is, and participate with community initiatives like 'Proud to Keep Loughrea Tidy', or who donate and / or sponsor teams, improvement projects and schemes.

Since 1983, the Loughrea Lions Club have been supporting those in need through humanitarian services and grants to improve the health and wellbeing of those in need, especially during the Christmas season. It is impossible to put the positive impact that the Loughrea Lions Club has had on the local community, and they are just one of the many caring, selfless groups operating within this small rural town.

While many may know Loughrea for its sporting achievements, its relatively short distance from Galway city, or for the many historical events which occurred nearby, but I think the thing that makes it truly brilliant are its people, and their commitment to each other.


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