36 TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 NEWS CASTLEPOLLARD COMMENT Castlepollard Men’s Shed: a place where men can meet, talk and share their skills BY PAUL O’DONOVAN The Castlepollard Men’s Shed is fast becoming a vital part of the local community. Offering men from the north Westmeath area the opportunity to meet, talk, chat and use their skills, it is an area of Irish life that is rapidly expanding. “The company part is the most important part. That’s the whole reason of the shed, regardless of any work going on. The men like to chat and talk and hear the news also,” said John Higgins, the Assistant Secretary of the Men’s Shed in Castlepollard. “It is a place for men to come and meet and have a chat and a cup of tea, and then if they want to use some of their skills, that is up to them, they don’t have to do anything, they can just come and chat, if that’s what they want. But if they want to do a bit of painting, or repair a bit of furniture they can,” said Tom Earle, Joint Treasurer of the Men’s Shed, and one of the driving forces behind the shed in Castlepollard. “We formed a Men’s Shed in Castlepollard in May 2016, and John Higgins and Martin Fagan were the main men behind setting up the shed,” said Tom. “There had been talk of one in the area for a while and then we started off when six people came together. We looked for a premises and we found one at Eugene O’Neill’s old shed on the Dublin Road. We stayed there until the end of that year, but the shed was old and in need of repair. We found out then that the Castlepollard old national school building on the Oldcastle Road, was available, so we moved into it. It was the national school in the 1960s and lately it was the Castlepollard Museum, but when it became vacant, we moved in. We asked Fr. Moore and he was delighted that we were coming into the building to use it. So we have an agreement for a ten year lease at a very good rent, and in return, we are repairing, improving and maintaining the building as we go along. We have made improvements already. We have created a kitchen and renovated the toilets. We then set up a workshop, so now we have a base to work from. We also set up a stove in the building. So most of the building is reasonably comfortable. It is all about funding, though. We got some funding from the Council and National Lottery, but they are just small bits of funding,” said Tom. Pictured in the Men’s Shed in Castlepollard on the Oldcastle Road, Castlepollard, are, back row from left, George Brown, Tom Earle, PJ McHugh, John Higgins, Mattie Rooney and John Thompson, and in front, Eugene Moore, John Coghlan and Mick McCormack. A HIVE OF ACTIVITY The shed was certainly a hive of activity when this reporter called in on a wintry Tuesday afternoon. “There is always some kind of work going on here. The men could be painting a wall or painting a chair. One man here is repairing a bench. There is the possibility that bench could end up in one of the national schools, so the children can sit on it at lunchtime. We are in the process of doing a few benches at the moment and we will see where they will end up. If they can be used by school children, then great. We are making bird boxes for the farming community also. We have about 15 men involved in the shed at the moment. We always have enquiries and it takes time for people to know we are here. There are no hard and fast rules about what we are doing. If someone wants to bring along a little project to us, fine. The more little projects that are going on, the more people we can get involved. It is hard at times to get everyone involved. Many of the men may not have used their skills for many years but we want them to get involved and encourage them to be active again,” said Tom. MEN FROM ALL AREAS WELCOME “People love to talk and drink tea,” said John Higgins, “and some men just come along for a chat, and that’s fine, that’s brilliant. If they want company, they can come along; there is no problem. It is somewhere to go other than a pub. And the men come from all over. George Brown, busy at work in the Men’s Shed in Castlepollard. They have come from Finea, Fore, and Castlepollard and all surrounding areas. We sent out invites to Collinstown, Fore, Whitehall and Coole. Young or old, from far or near, it makes no difference, all are welcome. As regards the work, we do, we haven’t refused anything yet. We will give everything a go. We have done furniture restoration and repair. We have painted two boats already and repaired them, provided bird boxes and bat boxes to farmers for the Glás Scheme,” said John. The men are full of new ideas and constantly making plans. “The plan would be to turn this area into a recreation area and have a pool table and darts board. Then we have the kitchen, office and toilet,” says John, pointing around to the various areas in the building. “There are all kinds of possibilities,” said Tom. “We could have a Sunday afternoon céilí or maybe card games amongst the men. The men have also worked on the allotment outside. They have a greenhouse and a set of vegetables, and it will grow over time. Over the past few months, we have had computer classes for beginners. We learned a lot from that. Then we had a talk on Diabetes Awareness and some nurses did a health check on us, and we had a talk on active ageing. So there are plenty of opportunities here. We don’t have a TV or radio here. It is all about meeting and chatting and talking,” said Tom. There is no doubt that the concept of ‘Men’s Shed’s’ throughout the country is growing rapidly and becoming an integral part of community life. “There are 420 men’s sheds in Ireland at the moment, and they are growing rapidly. Some of them die away, others keep going strong. We have visited a few sheds too. We were in Strokestown, Mullingar, Kilbeggan and Tullamore. “They teach music there in Tullamore; that is a very big shed. The men in the other sheds are very helpful and we get great advice from the Irish Men’s Shed,” said John. The Castlepollard Men’s Shed recently held their AGM and set up a committee. Tony Corrigan is Chairman, Bill Ryan is Vice-Chairman, Kevin is Secretary, while Tom Earle is Joint Treasurer and Mick McCormack still had time for a smile for the camera, despite working hard in the Men’s Shed. Mattie Rooney was busy working in the Men’s Shed in Castlepollard. John Higgins is Assistant Secretary. “We meet on Tuesdays from 2pm-5pm. It would be ideal if there was someone here every day. We did meet from 7pm-9pm, when we started out, but I think there is a need now to meet in the evenings. We will do that when the weather and the longer evenings come in, but we need a big project now to drive it on. We rely greatly on fundraising though, the church raised a few bob for the group and the council too. Then each member is putting in €3 a week and it covers the cup of tea and biscuits. We are keeping afloat but donations will always be gratefully accepted,” said Tom with a smile. NEW MEMBERS WELCOME The Men’s Shed in Castlepollard is open to all men. Anyone wishing to join the Men’s Shed can just call in to the shed on the Oldcastle Road, Castlepollard, on a Tuesday afternoon between 2pm-5pm, or they can give John a call on 086- 8283343 or Tom on 085- 1637804. In this day and age, it is very important for people to talk to each other and certainly the Men’s Shed gives this opportunity to men of all ages and indeed it offers a great deal more in regards to learning skills and learning about life. It is indeed a very welcome part of the local community.
TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 NEWS 37 firstname.lastname@example.org GALWAY HURLER CONOR COONEY GUEST OF HONOUR AT CLANN NA nGAEL MEDAL PRESENTATION All-Ireland medal winner Galway hurler Conor Cooney was the guest of honour when the Clan Na Gael (Brownstown/Castlepollard) Under 14 and Under 16 players from 2017 were presented with their medals at a presentation night, which was held in Hotel Castlepollard on Friday, 19 January. Westmeath County Chairman Billy Foley was also in attendance for the special occasion. Members of the Brownstown underage Camogie Club pictured with Galway hurler Conor Cooney in Hotel Castlepollard at the presentation night. The Clann na nGael under 14 hurling team that received their medals from Galway hurler, Conor Cooney. Back row from left: Thomas Flynn, Conor Gaffney, Ciaran Daly, Alex McCormack, Luke Gilchrist, Jody Browne, Oisín Kiernan, Matthew O’Reilly, Aaron Fagan and Shane Manley, along with Galway’s Conor Cooney. Front row from left: Dhiarmuid Reilly, Anthony Mulvanney, Darragh McCormack, Keelin Poynton, Jamie Reilly, Ben Murphy, Brian Gilchrist, Darragh Kennedy, Conor Sheridan and Daragh Reilly. The Clann na nGael under 16 hurling team that received their medals from Galway hurler Conor Cooney. Included in the back row are Conor Gaffney, Brian Gavigan, Jake Mulvanney, Eoin English, Luke Roddy, Charlie McCormack, Cian Daly, David Devine, Darragh McCormack and Galway hurler Conor Cooney. Front row from left; Darragh Kennedy, Keelin Poynton, Oisín Gaffney, Sean Dermody, Alex McCormack, Tommy McCabe, Oisín Kiernan, Cian Smyth, Danny Henry and Ian Flaherty. Castlepollard woman bereaved following death of her brother The death occurred of Gerard O'Reilly from Carrigan, Ballinagh, Co. Cavan, on Wednesday, 7 February. The late Mr. O’Reilly was a brother of Marian Murray from Castlepollard. Marian is the wife of well-known Castlepollard businessman Paddy Murray. Mr. O’Reilly, who was in his 80s, died in a Dublin hospital, despite the heroic efforts of two postmen who rescued him from his house, which caught fire on Wednesday morning. Mr. O’Reilly lived on his own in a house near Ballinagh, Cavan. The two postmen noticed smoke coming from the house. They managed to get the elderly man out and immediately rang the fire brigade and the ambulance. Mr. O’Reilly was brought to Cavan General Hospital before being transferred to St James’ Hospital Dublin, where he later died. George was predeceased by his brother Brendan and his death is deeply regretted by his brother Enda, Rathdowney, Co. Laois, sisters Marian Murray, Castlepollard and Ita Keogan, Drumbrucklis, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and sadly missed by his neighbours and friends. George’s remains were brought to St Mary’s Church, Bruskey, on Friday 9th January where his Funeral Mass was offered on Saturday, 10th January, followed by burial in Mullaghboy Cemetery. May he rest in peace. As a mark of respect, Paddy Murray’s Auctioneer’s business in Castlepollard was closed for a number of days. Table Quiz in aid of St Vincent De Paul A table quiz in aid of St Vincent De Paul will be held in McCormack’s Pub, Castlepollard on Friday, 16th of February. A table of four costs just €40. Please support this worthy cause. ‘From Under The Bed’ coming to Ringtown GAA Centre On Saturday night, 24 February, Ringtown will host a play by Seamus O’Rourke entitled ‘From Under the Bed’. This promises to be a wonderful night of entertainment in Ringtown GAA Centre. The show commences at 8pm and tickets are just €10 each and all are welcome. This is great value for a night of entertainment that certainly should not be missed. . The late Una Hitchcock The death occurred of Una Hitchcock (née Murray) from Ballymun in Dublin and late of Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath. Una died peacefully on Friday, 26 January, 2018, in the loving care of her family and the wonderful staff of The Synge Unit (PACS) in Fairview, Dublin. Una was predeceased by her husband Billy, baby daughter Christina and close niece Marie. She will be sadly missed and remembered with love by her sons Liam, Eugene and John, her daughter-in-law Ann, nephews, nieces, grandnephews, grandnieces, great-grandnephews, great-grand- nieces, cousin Moll, extended family, wonderful neighbours and friends. Una’s remains reposed on Sunday 28th of January at Rom Massey & Sons Funeral Home, the Ballymun Civic Centre, Ballymun, Dublin, with funeral Mass being offered on Monday, 29th of January at the Church of The Holy Spirit, Sillogue Road, followed by burial in Glasnevin Cemetery. May she rest in peace. The late Patsy Owens The death occurred of Patsy Owens of Kilmore, Streete, Westmeath. Patsy died peacefully, on Wednesday, 24th of January, in the loving care of St. Camillus Nursing Home, Killucan, Co. Westmeath. Patsy was a former Castlepollard hurler, and also helped the Ringtown club when they began recruiting underage players from that area in the 1990s. His sons Hugh and Paddy played underage hurling for Ringtown for a number of years. Patsy’s death is deeply regretted by his loving wife Maureen, sons Patrick and Hughie, brother Seamus, sisters Mary and Ann, cousins, relatives, neighbours and friends. Patsy’s remains reposed at his home on Thursday, 25th of January before removal to St. Mary's Church, Boherquill, where Mass of the Resurrection was offered on Friday, 26th January, followed by burial in St. Fintan's Cemetery. May he rest in peace.