25 years of St. Helen's golf village
The history of St. Helen's Bay Golf Resort in Rosslare is outlined in a new book written by the retired teacher and businessman Larry Byrne who built the golf club and holiday village.
'From Farmland to Fairways' has been published to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the first phase of the multi-million Euro development in 1993.
The book which is available at the golf resort and Wexford Book Centre, recounts Larry's decision to develop a golf resort in the area where the late hurling legend Billy Rackard had a part-three course where he used to play.
Having sold their successful School and Office Supplies in Selskar, Larry and his wife Marie were sitting on a beach on the Isle of Wight and discussing how to invest the money from the sale when he came up with the idea.
'I felt that golf was the way to go in Wexford at the time, particularly golf and a beach together', he said.
A number of shareholders came on board, including Victor Stafford, Tom Noonan, Liam Griffin and John Corish and soon work began on one of the biggest leisure developments in Wexford and even Ireland at the time.
St. Helen's Bay Golf and Country Club as it was then known, opened with 12 cottages and an 18-hole, part links golf course and during a 10-year building phase, the project grew to 315 houses and 27 holes of golf.
Larry bowed out of St. Helen's in 2013 and it is now owned and run by a consortium comprised mostly of home-owners in the golfing village and members. While privately owned, the golf course is a public facility.
'From Farmland to Fairways' is Larry's way of documenting the early history of St. Helen's Golf Resort for posterity.
'We had thousands of visitors there every year and people often asked how it all got started. Golf courses last for hundreds of years. The reason for the book is to record the first 25 years', said the author who is now enjoying retirement and helping his son Tiernan party-time in his company Club Choice Ireland which brings golfers into Ireland from the UK, USA and Europe.
All proceeds from the book are going to a charity called Sport for Africa which was founded 20 years ago by the Byrne family. Still run by them, it provides funding for schools and education in seven African countries.
The launch was attended by Minister of State, Paul Kehoe and other dignatories.