The commencement of the demolition of the grain dryers, storage bins and all the other buildings at Castlelyons Co-op along with the proposed new alterations will see a huge change in our area. Along with the castle, the skyline of Castlelyons was dominated for the last 50 years by the huge buildings at the site, whether you were travelling down from Watergrasshill direction, coming down from Kilcor or looking down from Corrin the grain bins were always the pin on the map to find Castlelyons. However with its continous deterioration over the last number of years, its final outcome was inevitable.
Despite its present state, we should not forget the huge business that Castlelyons Co-op once was. A hive of activity, with over 200 people employed there at its peak during the mid to late 80’s. It’s hard to imagine that at that time the then Castlelyons Co-op included a garage for servicing the milk tankers and selling farm machinery and garden equipment, a seed dressing store, A.I. sub-station, hardware store and supermarket, grain mill and animal feed manufacturing, grain intake and drying facility and a home heating oil delivery service. Of course the dairy products manufacturing facility (tinned custard and cold desserts,” Castlelyons Co-op” butter, cream, endorsed by none other than Darina Allen, and fresh milk was the flagship of the company and was something of which we were all very proud.
There were several outside branches at Conna, Ballyduff, Glenville and other villages in the surrounding areas. It also had its own farm at Curraghdermot which contributed in no small way to increasing the profitability of farms in Ireland through research and trial work. Many families moved to Castlelyons and are still living in the parish today because of the company and it is also important to recognise and acknowledge the managers and employees who worked there down through the years and who made the Co-op what it became and the influence those people had in our community. How many teenagers got experience doing summer work, whether in the offices, the grain intake division,the supermarket or elsewhere in the business. What value it would have today. The co-op also contributed financially to many sporting and cultural events held down through the years with generous sponsorship or goods for various fundraising or other events.
Glanbia are now a hugely successful international company and even though the Co-op will never again be the same we hope that the new development will reinvigorate the site and return it to almost its former glory.