The Chief Executive of Active Retirement Ireland, Maureen Kavanagh, said in Thurles last week that “we need to look for the positive images about getting older and to steer away from the negative images that are portrayed”.
She was launching Positive Ageing Week in, Thurles, where numerous events, involving many local community organisations took place during the last week.
She praised the volunteers working hard to make their contribution to the community and said this was a positive image.
“Look at what older people are doing for their Tidy Towns, their Credit Unions and people such as the Meals on Wheels, St. Vincent De Paul and Active Retirement Associations which are run by volunteers or older people themselves. All people doing things for themselves and keeping active and keeping healthy”
She stated that there are now 529 Active Retirement associations in Ireland and 23,000 members.
“In Active Retirement Ireland our whole ethos is about enabling older people enjoy a full and active life and weeks like this in Thurles are fantastic for showing the positivity of ageing and bringing the community together”.
The attendance included the Mayor of North Tipperary, Micheal Lowry; the Mayor of Thurles, John Kennedy, and members of the An Garda Siochana, Order of Malta, ICA, Lions Club, St. Vincent De Paul, Credit Union, Citizens Information Centre, Thurles Carers Support Group, and former Thurles Mayor, Evelyn Nevin whom we met with her daughter, Rachel, and also there were Paddy and Biddy Nevin, Mitchel Street.
And we had an interesting chat with Biddy who once told this column an inspiring and heart warming story about the horse racing world. Local lady, Carmel Hogan, welcomed everybody to the event on behalf of the people of Thurles at the launch in Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre, where the blue and white colours of Sars and the blue and gold of Tipperary were very much in evidence
Not to mention the myriad colours on buns and cakes and other goodies. Yum yum.
We met amiable Michael Wright, Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care at the Technology Park in Thurles who is Secretary of Positive ageing Week in Thurles. He explained that they are a group of people in town who came together to put on some events for older people in town. ”The idea is just to get people involved in the community and to bring people together in the community. I think there can be issues with, say, when people retire and they have had a very busy life in terms of family and work and then, all of a sudden, things change. For a lot of older people retirement is a wonderful thing and I think one wants to make sure it’s a wonderful thing for everybody”
So, today is Information Day and we have fourteen organisations in the town providing information. We have the Lions, Active Retirement, An Garda Siochana, HSE, statutory and voluntary bodies and we also have therapists, providing free hand massage and foot massage.
We will have an historical walk of the town with George Willoughby in Liberty Square and then up to St. Mary’s Famine Museum”(In fact, George later told the column that he was delighted to have had a turnout of over forty interested folks for his historical walk which took a few hours to complete. Bualadh bos, George!)
Michael also said a stress workshop was held in “Angelic Ambience” in Baker Street.
Bill Noble conducted an art course in Golden Years Day Care Centre and taught people how to use water colours. On last Wednesday V Rev. Martin Hayes, Adm, Thurles, celebrated a Special Mass for older people in the St Joseph and Brigid Church in Bothar na Naomh and welcomed Dean Philip Knowles of Cashel who did some readings. Afterwards, in Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre there was tea and coffee and cakes, sandwiches, and music and dancing with the inimitable Liam Fanning, one of Tipp’s most popular entertainers.
The organist at the well attended Mass was John O’Gorman and what a lovely voice has Marian Felle Dwyer, Bohernamona, who sang beautifully at the Special Mass for Positive Ageing Week. A bus brought a group of people to the Garda College, Templemore last Thursday and Phil Prendergast MEP, visited the Source Library last Friday. Several hundred people participated in the various events over the very successful week when many new friendships were formed and old friendships renewed.
“We started this last year and so it’s our second year” said Michael Wright.
The attendance included GAA personalities, Jimmy Purcell, former Groundsman at Semple Stadium, Tomas O Baroid, legendary County Tipperary GAA Board Secretary for over 30 years, Jackie Cooke of Sarsfields Social Centre.
We met Mary Daly, Collins Park who is a Counsellor and doing wonderful voluntary work with various folks in town also. Mary BA.T.H.Dip Couns, is a former prominent member of both Thurles Drama Group and Thurles Musical Society. And one of the friendliest and most helpful people in Thurles. Mary was at the St. Vincent De Paul stand. The Source Library was represented by Ms Anne Marie Brophy who informed us about interesting upcoming “Tipperary People and Places Lectures” at The Source Library.
Well known member of the Monks folk Group, violinist, Timmy Lyons, was there with his wife, Margaret. Met Thurles Garda, Nicola Cleere, (with a plateful of colourful buns in her hand for folks) and Garda Damien Cleere.
Donal Scannell, CEO of Thurles Credit Union and DJ Darcy, Thurles CU President, were there also as was Madeleine McCoole.
Thurles Lions present included, Pat Strapp(President) and Martin Taylor and Joseph Tynan whose wife, Nancy is National Treasurer of Active Retirement Ireland. Margaret McNally of the HSE and Health Centre in Nenagh was there, and So, too, was Angela Quinn, the prominent North Tipperary Federation ICA officer from Sarsfields Street, Thurles.
Chrissie O’Meara of the Mid Tipperary Hill Walkers Club told us she is soon to head off on an expedition to the Mountains of Mourne.
Met a contingent from the wonderful Thurles Community Hospital of the Assumption, so absolutely vital to Thurles, as we were told at a recent public meeting in LIT, Tipperary in Thurles and they included Mary Mockler –Shortt, and Sister Catherine Keohane. And, of course, Thurles Mayor, John Kennedy, is on the Staff of the Hospital. Met also Maureen Campbell and Gay O’Meara.
Sister Mary Barry and Noreen Shanahan were representing Thurles Carers Support Group. John Costello was on duty for the Order of Malta and Kathleen Maher and Phil Wilson for the Thurles Information Centre. We met Transition Year students from Presentation Secondary School, Thurles, who were most courteous and hospitable with the buns and tea and whose school will soon stage the musical, ”Hairspray”. More anon on this
The courteous Presentation girls were Amy Cullen, Grainne Dwyer, Mary Claire Hanafin, Caoimhe Deegan, Jenny Dunne, Amy Ryan, Louise Kennedy and Laura Donnelly.
The committee for Positive Ageing Week comprises: Bridget Fitzgibbon(Active Retirement); John Kennedy, Mayor of Thurles; Michael Wright, Home Instead Senior Care; Evelyn Nevin, Thurles Town Council; Catherine Hayes, Golden Years Day Care Centre. Nancy Tynan,(Active Retirement); Breada Ryan, North Tipp Leader Partnership; Janis Nolan,(Community Garda); Damien Cleere ( Community Garda); Brian Dowling (Thurles Town Council); Mary Shortt,(Community Hospital of the Assumption); Ann Marie Brophy(Source Library) ;Bob Maher(St. Vincent De Paul; Nicola Cleere (Community Garda),
The week’s events were sponsored by St Vincent De Paul, North Tipperary LeaderPartnership, Thurles Lions Club, Thurles Town Council, Thurles Credit Union,
Also met Michael and Josephine O’Dwyer of Mitchel Street, and Michelle Flanagan, Gaile with whom we chatted about Acupuncture and it’s Chinese origins and interesting events at Cabragh Wetlands. Also met Margot Olden, Kitty Curran and Thurles Active Retirement member, Dee Hayes, Liberty Square. Also met Liam Kelly, well- known Muintir na Tire personality, and Margaret Keogh of Thurles Ceili and Set Dancing Club, and Pat and Mary Doheny and Breada Ryan of North Tipperary Leader Partnership.