NEWS

Donegal brings a beacon of light to Croke Park
See snapshot of the event

A journey of inspiration and unbridled joy

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

Email:

matt.britton@doneagldemocrat.ie

It was just like the old days - getting up at the crack of dawn, sandwiches packed and a last-minute rush to catch that bus that would bring us to Dublin and Croke Park. 

This, however, was no trip to a big match, even though there were similarities. This was to be one of the most memorable days in the lifetime of the choir from the Bluestack Foundation.

The occasion was the Beyond Limits summit - the first event of its kind in Ireland amplifying the voices of young people with disabilities and learning from their achievements, 

The thought struck me as we approached Dublin - Yes, these kids have needs but we all have needs of some form or another and we all need the tools to deal with them, These kids gather the tools every day and put them to work. On the coach everybody was equal - some had joys, others, maybe worries. These are things we all share. We could all learn a lesson from this group of people.

Arriving at Croke Park we were escorted up to the premium area on the 5th floor. There is always one person who deserves special mention and that person is Denis O’Reilly who quietly and without any fuss arranged for the group to get on to the Hogan Stand - a memory that will remain with them for many years.

Certain things will always remain with me. Joanne Riordan, a sports journalist with the Irish Times said: “I don’t focus on my disability, I focus on my ability, I have a voice and I can make it heard. No limbs, no limits.” Similar words were echoed by many others and indeed many of our own group.

Our own Katie George Dunlevy the Paralympian gold medalist is another prime example of people who treat their problems simply as challenges.                                                             

The Bluestack Foundation Choir let their voices be heard strongly in the company of Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon, Julian Benson and hundreds of people.

On the return trip, we had a pre-arranged stop with Jimmy Brady at the Lakeside Manor outside Virginia. Jimmy deserves a big mention - his sheer kindness and friendliness were also beyond limits.

To Declan Bradley from Carrick, our coach driver - all I can say is that he has become very much part of the Bluestack family.   

See full gallery over the weekend on www.donegaldemocrat.ie