Ellie Richardson Borriskane Tipperary with Munster Players Gerbrandt Grobler and Darren O’ Shea.
The Official Launch of Dreamland Limerick took place this week with the Mayor of Limerick Stephen Keary and Munster Players - Gerbrandt Grobler and Darren O’Shea.
Dreamland is the brainchild of Shay Kinsella, founder of the Share a Dream Foundation, which for the last twenty six years has been making dreams a reality for some 27,000 very special children and their families.
Working with so many sick and disabled children from all over Ireland Shay realised that what these children had in common with abled bodied kids was their desire to play as all children love to play.
However, after lots of research he realised that although all children were entitled to play some 85,000 disabled children were denied this right because of a total lack of fully inclusive, warm, safe clean, playgrounds and play centres in the country. Accessible is not inclusive.
After trying to get the Government, it’s agencies and other major groups interested in correcting this terrible wrong but to no avail Shay decided to design, fundraise and build somewhere really special where no child would feel different and all children regardless of ability or disability would play together learning from each other.
It has taken 10 long years raising funds, getting support and developing his idea and so Dreamland Limerick has become a reality.
Dreamland is a magical place the kind you can only find in story books or children’s wonderful imagination where parents can be kids and have real quality time with their children and where we see only ability not disability and learning through play.
In the last 10 months since we opened some 10,000 people have all visited Dreamland from all over the country making it an exciting tourist attraction for Limerick.
According to the Irish Times Dreamland is the no 1 indoor play centre in Ireland and Limerick’s best kept secret. If 5 star reviews are anything to go by then Dreamland is a Dream come true for all children, especially disabled.
Dreamland is a tribute to one man’s dream of building a magical place for all children to play together and a wonderful tribute to volunteers all over Ireland who stayed with Shay and believed in his dream by raising the funds needed to make the Dream come true.
Dreamland is open to the public who pay an admission fee while sick and disabled children go free. All funds raised go to making dreams come true for terminally ill children.
However, the demand on Dreamland from so many special groups is now so great we desperately need financial and physical support to organise programmes for thousands of children with special needs.
At present there are only two full time staff employed by Share a Dream but we need funding to employ at least four more qualified personnel so that we can develop these special programmes so we never have to say no to any disabled child who contacts us and want to play in Dreamland.
Thanks to our wonderful relationship with Mary immaculate College and their Early Childhood students doing their placement with us which gives them invaluable experience it helps us keep the doors open in Dreamland along with our TY programme with many secondary schools in the city.
If you can help in any way to support our efforts in developing Dreamland Limerick and show all of Europe that inclusive does work and is working in the Mid-West we need your support.
The Magic of Christmas in Dreamland is now open for booking www.dreamland.ie or telephone: 061-200080