The Algarve

41 members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement had a wonderful holiday in the Algarve from the 9th to the 19th September 2007. We stayed in the luxurious Villamoura Hotel which was located practically on the beachfront. The weather, the food, the entertainment and the "craic" were second to none. There was something different for everyone. Some went on day trips to the nearest towns, while the "markets" for the bargain hunters were ever popular. 5 members did the praying for the rest of us in Fatima where they stayed overnight. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit this famous shrine and were full of the joys of life on their return.
It was difficult to leave the lovely sunshine and return to the rain and cold at Dublin Airport.
However,we are now bronzed and rested, and ready to face the winter again. We are looking forward to our next break which will be next May - our Cruise on the Med.
Chris O'Flynn


For people like me who grew up in the 30's which was the era of the parriffin oil lamp to have to leap forward to the twentyfirst century where the the world wide web and the internet have taken over is like moving into a different planet.

To help cope with this enormous challenge we have been greatly assisted by Brendan Smith who has taken a group of elderly retired persons who were totally computer illiterate a little over a year ago and taken us to the stage that we now can book flights on the internet,get in touch with relatives overseas(some of us)and search for all sorts of stuff on the world wide web

it has been a wonderful experience

Role of Active Retirement.

For most people , Retirement creates a huge void in their lives. You lose your identity, your sense of belonging, and often you 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”. This results in a lot of loneliness, isolation and depression.
The A.R.A., for me, meant a new beginning. It filled that huge void in my life and provided a new focus. As a member of the A.R.A. I was helped to lead a full, active life once again.


With the growth of our association in Ballinasloe, the members come from all walks of life. You have the opportunity to use the expertise gained during your working life, and to form new friendships. You can avail of the wide range of activities, holidays, outings and socials, creative and learning programmes, sports and community work.


The role of the A.R.A will become more important in the future, especially in the field of communication.
With letter-writing a thing of the past, the closing of the Post Offices and small town banking facilities and 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 on the phone has now been drowned out by texting. Email and Internet can now do shopping and all business transactions, in silence. Gone too, are neighbourly visits and the little pieces of gossip exchanged over the garden fence.
Hence, the importance of the A.R.A. in our future. This is a place where we can escape from this “press-button” world .A place to enjoy the friendly “cuppa”, to chat and share anxieties. We can also learn to go froward, at our own pace, into this fast world of technology.

Setting Up a Family Photo Album 'Online'

Thanks to our computer & Internet Awareness course, quite a few members now have their own websites and online photo galleries.
To view some of these sites and to learn how you too can set up your own version, go to Chris O' Flynn's website kmk

Life on the Ocean Wave


In 2006, the Association organised a week-long cruise on a luxury liner along the coasts of Greece and Italy. The weather was glorious, the food sublime and the sights breathtaking!

Interestingly enough, we sourced and booked this holiday through the Internet!

'Fadó Fadó- Stories of Days Gone

The Association is now embarking on a major project in collaboration with Brendan Smith from the DERI Instiute at Galway University to create an Online archive of video and audio recordings of local people as they reminisce on their childhood memories of Ballinasloe in former times.
Thanks to this project, our members will become members of the 'iPod Generation' as they will soon be walking around the town listening to these recordings on their personal iPod or MP3 Players!
For further information go to...............

Silver Surfers in Ballinasloe!

Our Association recently completed a computer and internet awareness course with Brendan Smith of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) of Galway University. The venue was the brilliant IT facility in the Community Centre in what was the old Emerald Ballroon.
Brendan gave us a hands-on approach to the new technology and showed us how it do so much to empower older people. Many of the new services available on the World Wide Web are easy to use, are highly beneficial and are free!
Participants not only learnt about the advantages of using email (electronic mail) but can now tour the world from the comfort of their desk via 'Google Earth', set up their own colurful websites and online photo galleries. Furthermore, members such as Evelyn Flanagan now communicate on a regular basis with their family members living abroad. "Silver Surfers!
“Until I went on the DERI course organised for members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association, I only had a vague idea of what exactly the Internet was. Now I have my very own personal Blog and am in regular visual communication via Skype with my daughter and family in Boston. The ironic thing is that it was me that introduced her to this marvellous facility and got her to buy a web-cam and download Skype! Through similar situations, the course has dramatically changed the lives of other participants as well. Though many members of the association grew up in homes that had no electricity, we can now say that we are all proud members of the ‘Silver Surfer’ club!”