In 1994 while walking along the quays in New Ross, Michael Browne noticed a lot of English cars with fishing rods on the roof rack heading for the West and not one stopping in the town. From that point on he set about finding a site near the town to build a lake. With the help of Tom Sullivan & John Flynn from the fisheries board, Oaklands was selected from a pick of 5 sites. He soon realised that the job was too big for one so he contacted a few of his friends that had an interest in angling, with the view of forming a committee to develop the lake. The names he contacted were:
Paddy Doyle (then a member of the New Ross town council), Tony Murphy (a long time angling friend), Joe Ryan (an angling friend), Martin Connelly (a trout angler), Adrian Browne (a coarse angler), Marian Browne (his wife)
This group formed the first committee with Tom Sullivan. The work done by the committee was tremendous with meetings held each month. Each member set about getting donations form the corporate bodies in the twon and surrounding areas. Not one person refused to give donations. The land was leased from the Smith family, relations of the Kelly family. A lot of fund raising took place, money was secured from W.O.R.D., New Ross U.D.C. and Wexford County Council. Work started on the 22nd May 1998. The lake was built by Gerry Hennessy contractor. The first sod was turned by My High Byrne and the lake was opened to anglers in February 2000.
Much more work has gone on since with the help of W.O.R.D., RAPID & The National Lottery. I would like to thank all those who helped to get the lake on the road and for the support they gave me from the start. Mr Frank Darcy, Eileen Dake, Marine Furlong and all the staff of W.O.R.D., Members of the New Ross U.D.C., Wexford County Council, Mr Jim Walsh, Mr Sean Connick, Mr Hugh Byrne and Mr Pat Fallon of the forestry department. Larry O'Brien (Wexford County Council) & Bobby Dunphy (New Ross Town Council).