WOMEN’S LIVES: Staying active in Dunkineely

Ann Garratt

Reporter:

Ann Garratt

WOMEN’S LIVES: Staying active in Dunkineely
I recently visited the Dunkineely branch of Active Retirement Ireland and found a lively bunch of ladies not prepared to let the passing years be the end of their bustling lives.

I recently visited the Dunkineely branch of Active Retirement Ireland and found a lively bunch of ladies not prepared to let the passing years be the end of their bustling lives.

Amid much merriment and friendly banter they told me their favourite motto is: “If you rest you rust.”

The group is part of a national network of 550 branches with 25,000 members scattered around the country. Their aim is to promote a full, happy and healthy retirement by offering opportunities for a wide range of social activities, which include holidays, outings, social and creative learning and indoor and outdoor sport.

The Dunkineely branch has around 20 members who meet every fortnight at the local GAA centre, and has been established since the 1990s. The age range of members is from 55 to mid-eighties and although at present it’s mainly all women, they would welcome male members.

Every meeting starts with 20 minutes of exercises which begins with a warm up, involving brisk walking to music. When that’s done they complete a series of chair based exercises aimed at strengthening muscles and promoting flexibility.

After the exercises members often play games to keep their minds active and alert. They are always on the lookout for interesting speakers and in the past have had talks and demonstrations on calligraphy, flower arranging, aromatherapy, reflexology and massage.

Typically the members round their meeting off with tea and biscuits, and when I visited had an animated discussion ranging from the state of the economy to the honesty of strangers around Donegal town.

Social event

Their next social event is a Mad Hatters tea party when they will be joined by the Carrick branch for an afternoon of music, comedy, dancing and singing. They had brought hats to decorate for the occasion.

Every year they have a few days away and this year they are planning a trip to Cavan. In the past they have visited Westport, Galway, and Rosses Point where they stayed at a nice hotel and enjoyed an evening meal together and a lovely time.

For most members the group provides a much needed opportunity for socializing and getting to know others. I chatted with Roisin who said, “The group is wonderful. I came to Dunkineely eight years ago knowing nobody until someone suggested coming along here. Now I have many friends to have a coffee and chat to.

We all accept each other as we are, and we have a laugh together”.

Ann, another member commented, “We share good and bad news. Nobody criticizes you and that’s very important”.

Eilis explained she joined when she retired and said, “I worked at the post office for 40 years and met lots of people.

“When I retired I was afraid I’d be lost. But joining here has been a lifesaver. I’ve made new friends and it helps keep my mind occupied.”

Maureen Feeney the secretary explained each member pays three euro per session and the group is largely self-financing with a small grant from “Go for Life”. The grant helps pay for buses, and the cost of room hire.

Maureen pointed out that in a rural area in particular many older people can experience isolation and loneliness especially when they retire. She stressed that joining a branch of Active Retirement Ireland can present a much needed opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to get together, keep fit and have some fun.

If you are interested in joining “Active Retirement Ireland” then log onto www.activeirl.ie where you can find details of branches near you.

WOMEN’S LIVES: Enjoying a full and active life in Dunkineely

I recently visited the Dunkineely branch of Active Retirement Ireland and found a lively bunch of ladies not prepared to let the passing years be the end of their bustling lives.

Amid much merriment and friendly banter they told me their favourite motto is: “If you rest you rust.”

The group is part of a national network of 550 branches with 25,000 members scattered around the country. Their aim is to promote a full, happy and healthy retirement by offering opportunities for a wide range of social activities, which include holidays, outings, social and creative learning and indoor and outdoor sport.

The Dunkineely branch has around 20 members who meet every fortnight at the local GAA centre, and has been established since the 1990s. The age range of members is from 55 to mid-eighties and although at present it’s mainly all women, they would welcome male members.

Every meeting starts with 20 minutes of exercises which begins with a warm up, involving brisk walking to music. When that’s done they complete a series of chair based exercises aimed at strengthening muscles and promoting flexibility.

After the exercises members often play games to keep their minds active and alert. They are always on the lookout for interesting speakers and in the past have had talks and demonstrations on calligraphy, flower arranging, aromatherapy, reflexology and massage.

Typically the members round their meeting off with tea and biscuits, and when I visited had an animated discussion ranging from the state of the economy to the honesty of strangers around Donegal town.

Social event

Their next social event is a Mad Hatters tea party when they will be joined by the Carrick branch for an afternoon of music, comedy, dancing and singing. They had brought hats to decorate for the occasion.

Every year they have a few days away and this year they are planning a trip to Cavan. In the past they have visited Westport, Galway, and Rosses Point where they stayed at a nice hotel and enjoyed an evening meal together and a lovely time.

For most members the group provides a much needed opportunity for socializing and getting to know others. I chatted with Roisin who said, “The group is wonderful. I came to Dunkineely eight years ago knowing nobody until someone suggested coming along here. Now I have many friends to have a coffee and chat to.

We all accept each other as we are, and we have a laugh together”.

Ann, another member commented, “We share good and bad news. Nobody criticizes you and that’s very important”.

Eilis explained she joined when she retired and said, “I worked at the post office for 40 years and met lots of people.

“When I retired I was afraid I’d be lost. But joining here has been a lifesaver. I’ve made new friends and it helps keep my mind occupied.”

Maureen Feeney the secretary explained each member pays three euro per session and the group is largely self-financing with a small grant from “Go for Life”. The grant helps pay for buses, and the cost of room hire.

Maureen pointed out that in a rural area in particular many older people can experience isolation and loneliness especially when they retire. She stressed that joining a branch of Active Retirement Ireland can present a much needed opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to get together, keep fit and have some fun.

If you are interested in joining “Active Retirement Ireland” then log onto www.activeirl.ie where you can find details of branches near you.