B.A.R.A. Spring Break to Clonakilty


B.A.R.A. Spring Break to Clonakilty

On Sunday 8th of May after two long years of isolation and Covid, 42 members of B.A.R.A. boarded McGinleys coach for our long awaited 5 day trip to Clonakilty. We were welcomed on board by our bus driver who introduced himself as Peadar. We set off on our journey, our first stop was Adare where we had a coffee break, after an hour we continued our journey to where we were based at the beautiful Clonakilty Park Hotel. We checked in, had tea/coffee on arrival and relaxed in the hotel where we were joined by two of our members who travelled by car. Dinner was at 7 pm.

Day 2 We travelled to Kinsale, as the weather wasn't kind to us that day we just had lunch, relaxed and returned to our hotel by 5pm to get ready for dinner @7pm

Day 3 our first stop was the birthplace of Michael Collins and his memorial centre, we continued our journey to Union Hall, a small fishing village, and on to Bandon where we had a coffee break and did a little shopping. We boarded the bus again and headed to Gougane Barra. Here we spent some time sightseeing and visited the beautiful church famous for hosting Weddings, we then returned to our Hotel .

Day 4 We travelled to Inchydoney Beach, then on to Cork City where we had lunch and did some shopping, we left Cork after 2 hours and headed to Cobh where some walked the harbour and others visited the Heritage Centre. We returned to the hotel at 5pm

Day 5 Our Final Day had arrived. While we were sad leaving The Clonakilty Park Hotel our trip wasn't over yet, we travelled to Beal na Blagh the ambush site of Michael Collins, then onto Blarney Wollen Mills. We had a coffee break before our next stop at Bunratty, where we had lunch.Our last leg of our trip had come. we arrived back in Ballinasloe @7pm tired & weary after a most enjoyable Spring Break.

By Anne Duffy, 18th May 2022

20th Anniversary Celebrations 25-3-2022


20th Anniversary Celebrations 25-3-2022

As it was in the beginning

By  Chris  O'Flynn

Hello everyone,

Nice to see so many people here to celebrate this great occasion.

To quote Michael Martin, our Taoiseach, “Today is a good day.” After twenty enjoyable years, I am grateful to be here in view of the fact we have lost so many of our friends especially during the Pandemic

We are always encouraged to live in the present but I think on this happy occasion we are allowed some playback time both to congratulate ourselves on our achievements and to look forward to the future.

For most people retirement creates a huge void in our lives. You lose your identity, your sense of belonging, and often lose touch with the friends you’ve made throughout your working life.

Retirement often coincides with the death of a partner and the “empty nest syndrome” when children leave home to lead their own lives. It was this situation which prompted me to set-up the Ballinasloe A.R.A.

Having worked in a busy office in Dublin, I got married to a Ballinasloe man and was soon serving pints in a very busy pub. Then followed a very busy life as a mother to four children. My life was happy and fulfilled.

Then my world fell apart. My husband, at the young age of fifty-five, died after a long illness. I felt lost, alone and isolated. As a lone parent and provider, life was hard. You could not go to pubs, restaurants, concerts, cinema or holidays on your own. The phone and doorbell stopped ringing .My social life had come to an end.

Gradually I began to realize that there must be a whole lot more elderly people in town in the same situation. I listened in the supermarket to many stories of loneliness and isolation – people who never met a soul from one Sunday Mass to the next.

Something needed to be done.

The answer came in the form of Ann Goodwin, development officer for the west. I am glad now I had the courage to pick up the phone and give her a call. She told me about the success of the A.R.A’s in the other parts of the country and I thought, that’s exactly what we need in Ballinasloe.

With the help of Ann and two others, Nancy Ward and the late Mary Grealy. We advertised and set up our first public meeting in Hayden’s Hotel on the 26th of March 2002 and then we waited with bated breath. Much to our relief, 45 people from all walks of life showed up. We selected our first committee and had our first brief meeting. Baby Bara was born !

It was a new beginning for us all. To-day.20 years later, we have a very vibrant and forward looking movement .Our membership has now risen to over 200.

Our success is due in no small way to the dedication and wonderful work of all the hard-working committee members down through the years. A sincere thank-you to all the members who played any part – big or small – in making the Association the success it is to-day. A special mention must go to our excellent longest serving Treasurer, Bridie Whelan, who has been Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2007.

I’m sure I will be forgiven if I mention also our 1st Chairman, the late Jimmy Crehan. He was a very enthusiastic Chairman who played a big part in steering the Association from a very uncertain beginning into the large thriving group it is to-day. During the group’s formative months Jimmy and myself, as 1st Secretary, planned and plotted around my kitchen table at 11 o’c every morning while his late wife Maureen waited patiently for the vegetables for the dinner.!!

With Jimmy’s vast knowledge and experience gained in a lifetime career in St. Brigid’s Hospital, he was passionate about health issues relating to older people. He was instrumental in organizing many informative talks on subjects such as heart problems, strokes, blood pressure, Diabetes, depression and the Psychology of aging. Huge numbers attended all these talks. In Jimmy’s own words our members lived in the “era of the Parafin oil lamp” so we were encouraged to take that big leap forward into the era of technology. We became the original “Silver Surfers”

On a personal level, over the last 20 years, I have made many new friends, visited many new places, done many courses, battled with computers, mobile phones, struggled with passwords and codes, “on Line” and www.everything. A new “me” had emerged. Our group has enjoyed 45 day trips, 10 City Breaks, and 21 sun holidays including 5 memorable Cruises.

Looking to the future, I think the Role of the A.R.A. will become more important than ever especially in the field of communication. The closing of the local post office, small town banking facilities, the corner grocery store not to mention ,the demise of the local pubs, the personal touch and friendly chat over the counter has long gone. The sound of the human voice has been drowned out by “Google”,We will be living in a world of drones and robots, codes and passwords.

I would encourage our next generation to become a member of our Active Retirement Association. It would be a place where one can escape from this “press button” world. In a group situation you can avail of a wide range of activities, holidays, outings and socials, creative and learning programmes, sports and community work. It would be a place to chat, share anxieties and enjoy a friendly “cuppa”in the company of new found friends.

I hope our Association will continue to grow from strength to strength and I hope you will get as much benefit and enjoyment from it as I have for the last 20 years.

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers and Grandmothers here to-day

Thank you.

Chris O’Flynn


St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2022


St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2022

Our Active Retirement group came out in great numbers to walk in the Parade. The lovely sunny weather was such a welcome change from other years. The lovely day also brought out the largest numbers of spectators ever seen.

Our theme this year was “Lockdown” and “Out at Last” .We were again delighted to be amongst the prizewinners.. We got great applause for our efforts. It was a great feeling to be out again as a group after our “Cocooning days”

Afterwards, we were treated to a well- deserved meal in Gullanes Hotel , It was a wonderful day enjoyed by one and all.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O )

Saint Patrick's Day 2022



    Check out right side of this site under SECTIONS.  Scroll down to BLOG ARCHIVE   click on a year for photo memories.          click once on a picture to enlarge.             Doug.



Ballinasloe Active Retirement A.G.M.2022

After an absence of two years there was relief and smiles on the faces of the large attendance at the A.G.M which was held in Gullane’s Hotel on 2/2/2022.

The Chairperson, Margaret Brennan welcomed everyone especially new members

We remember with fondness our members who have died since we last met in Feb.2020. May they rest in peace.

Unfortunately ,all our carefully planned activities, outings and trips were cancelled as a result of Covid ’19. The last couple of years was a time like no other. The Pandemic put the whole world in lockdown and all the over 70’s cocooning. We felt a huge sense of isolation and we missed the comraderie of our colleagues in the A.R.A.

However, “TO DAY IS A GOOD DAY” to quote Michael Martin, our Taoiseach, when he spoke to the nation with the easing of the majority of restrictions and we all surely feel that way, we now have to gradually move forward and get comfortable socializing and adjusting to a new “normal”. Covid is still with us but it has taught us how older people can deal with a crisis.

The Secretary, Deirdre Hogan said instead of our usual report on all our activities there was now a blank page. During the year we attended a special Mass to celebrate the lives of the 21 members we have lost during the pandemic These were our friends who have touched our lives and happily travelled with us on the path of life..

St. Patrick’s Day parade is the next up-coming event and we look forward to taking part. We hope to be among the prizewinners once again !!

A more joyful event is on the calendar for Friday, March 25th 2022 when we celebrate our 20th anniversary in Gullane’s Hotel .

The Chairperson thanked Phil Kelly outgoing secretary of the Social Committee, for all her dedicated work in arranging trips over the years.

The outgoing Treasurer Mary Slattery, reported on a healthy bank balance

The election of Officers then followed –

Chairperson – Margaret Brennan. Assistant Chairperson – Mgt. McDonnell

Secretary – Deirdre Hogan

Treasurer – Michael Colohan, Asst.Treasurer -Anne Duffy

Executive Committee:

Mgt. Brennan, Deirdre Hogan, Ml .Colohan, Goretti Fallon, Fr. Benny Flanagan,

Anne Duffy, Mgt,McDonnell, Angela Flynn

Social Committee:

Anne Duffy ,Anne Murray, Bridie Whelan, Maura Rafter ,Ann Stevens

P.R.O – Chris O’Flynn

I.T-.Douglas Rafter

The aim of our group is to enhance the lives of older people and eliminate loneliness through friendship ,information and communication .Members can avail of a wide range of activities which include, Bowls, Bridge, Book club, Singing Group (under the direction of the wonderful Marie Power) Walking group followed by light exercises, and Knitting/Crafts

Monthly meetings for all members are held on the first Wed. of the month in Gullane’s Hotel at 3o’c

Informal meeting every other Wednesday in Gullane’s at 3 o’c

New members are always welcome

Enquiries to Margaret Brennan, Ph. 0909642061. Or Chris O’Flynn Ph. 087 6492466

You can visit our Website www.ballinasloeactiveretirement.com

Chris O’Flynn  P.R.O,

Farewell Amelia


19:31 (26 minutes ago)

We were very sorry to hear of the death of one of our long serving members of our Active Retirement group. Amelia Faulkner. 
Amelia was always willing to play an active part in the group and served as an excellent secretary for a number of years
Blessed with a lovely singing voice ,she will be remembered specially for her party piece   " the Man in the Moon" and was always in good spirits. She also took an active part in our other activities especially the B.A.R.A singers,  Bowls club and Aquarobics, She was also a keen Bridge player.
We will miss smiling face and good company.
We wish to offer our deepest sympathy to her loving family and sincerely regret we were unable to attend her funeral, due to Covid restrictions.
May she rest in peace.

Chris O'Flynn (P.R.O}
 . .,