Happy New Year 2011

Best Wishes to all our friends

Dublin Xmas Trip 2010

Our Dublin Trip

We travelled to Dublin on December 8th to do some Christmas shopping and enjoy a few days in Wynns Hotel. We braved the snow and ice and were very careful to look out for one another. I am glad to report that the two day trip was most enjoyable and accident free.

On our first night, after an early dinner at our hotel, we went to a play in the Gate Theatre. The play was an adaptation by Alan Stanford of “Jane Eyre” written by Charlotte Brontë over a hundred and sixty years ago. Jane Eyre( played by Andrea Corr of music group The Corrs) is a woman, who despite a troubled past, struggles as best she can with life’s challenges. She falls in love with Mr. Rochester, played by Stephen Brennan, which indeed presents its own difficulties. But things work out in the end and it’s a wonderful story, beautifully acted and I would really recommend it to all.

On our second night we went to the new theatre, the Grand Canal Theatre. It’s a magnificent theatre with wonderful facilities and stage management. Here we saw the musical “Scrooge”, the title role being played by the legendary Tommy Steele. The whole production had come over from the London Palladium. It’s a wonderfully warm family story, with great sets and costumes and fantastic musical airs and spectacular dance throughout the show. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us and was the highlight of our trip.
We returned home the following day to resume our normal lives!

Bridie Loughman

Loughrea Play

I do not like thee Dr. Fell by Bernard Farrell

We attended a play in The Temperance Hall, Loughrea. It was a bitterly cold evening but we really enjoyed the play. It was produced by our very own John Boland, a most accomplished actor.
The play is a comedy, a strange kind of comedy with moments of sadness and mystery but still very funny. The story is built around a group therapy session. Suzy, an American, is group co-ordinator. Her remedy for everything is “relax, relate and communicate”. Roger is an intellectual who is obsessed with group therapy sessions. Peter, a builder and his wife Maureen , are having marriage problems or as Peter would say, “Maureen is highly strung”! Rita is a widow. She speaks of her late husband, who she still loves, and of her 12 cats named after the Twelve Apostles!!
Finally we have Joe, the Dr. Fell, who is the mysterious one and by his deceptions has a huge effect on the other participants and then there’s Paddy, the group attendant who regards them all as “weirdos”.
The cast was wonderful and the night’s performance was well-received by a large audience.
Bridie Loughman

Wanted---- Photographs

Members please forward any photos relating to our organisation
These photos may or may not be used, but more important is that they are not lost forever. we can store them on our B.A.R.A. computer for our library. Please attach names ,locations and dates. Posterity calls



“There’s For and Against”

There was a great air of excitement and anticipation in Gullane’s Hotel on Wed. 10th Nov.’10. It was the 1st venture for the members of the Active retirement association into what proved to be a very entertaining and light-hearted debate entitled “ We Senior Citizens are a burden on the state”
The tension was clearly visible on the faces of the six brave volunteers. Bridie Loughman acted as a very professional compere. Doug,as timekeeper, came armed with bell and an enormous clock!! Each speaker was allowed exactly three minutes.

The three member team in favour of the motion, Ml. Walshe, Nancy Ward and Mgt. McDonnell put forward some very convincing points claiming we had too many perks and allowances, that we could well afford to pay our own way and start fending for ourselves. After all our country was bankrupt!!

“Mike Nancy and Margaret”

The opposing team, Pearl Finnegan. Jane Treacy, and Sr Dorothea retaliated by stating we, senior citizens, were loved by the state and that we well deserved our grants and allowances. We had worked hard all our lives and contributed greatly to the ecomomy

Pearl Jane and Sr Dorothea

The debate was followed by a lively audience participation before our Chairman and Judge, Gabriel Rohan, declared , to much applause, the opposing team to be the winners.

All in all ,it was a very enjoyable afternoon and I hope it will be the first of many. However, I do feel our participating teams would be a hard act to follow!
Congratulations and well done to all concerned!
Chris O’Flynn

Galway Races October 2010

"Serious Decisions"

" Winner Alright"

October Bank Holiday Galway Race meeting

Last Monday 25th October a group of about twenty of us attended the final Race Meeting of 2010 in Ballybrit, Galway. It was a most enjoyable occasion.
The weather was dry but cold. We were well-protected from the weather, though, as we were located in the Panoramic Restaurant at the Millennium Stand. Dinner was excellent and we could place our bets from the comfort of our seats. Standing up we had a full view of the race course. A running commentary was also provided keeping us all up to date. The excitement towards the end of each race was wonderful as everyone cheered his own horse all the way to the finishing line. We won some, we lost some but none of us returned to Ballinasloe with any major winnings or losses!

Bridie Loughman

ARA Go On Festival Western Region Sept. 2010

The Two Jim's in action.

"Do I Know you" ???

Western Regional ARA Go On Festival 2010

We have just returned from three very enjoyable days in the Salthill Hotel in Galway, celebrating the Western Regional ARA Go On Festival 2010.
We met members from many other groups in the Region and this was both informative and entertaining. The hotel did an excellent job in welcoming and accommodating us for our entire stay. Music and dancing was provided by the hotel’s resident band and some ARA members also performed. We even found time to play a few hands of Bridge each evening.
On Monday evening a local historian, Paul McGinley, gave a very interesting talk on Galway City in olden times. Then on Tuesday we had a choice of tours, one to Connemara Heritage Centre and the other to Spiddal and Cong. A visit to Siopa Standún, a well-known and long established premises in Spiddal, was next on the agenda and there we purchased gifts and souvenirs.
A Gala Dinner concluded our last evening in the hotel. The meal was served in the Rockbarton Suite on the ground floor. No effort was spared to make this a memorable banquet.
We have been very lucky with the beautiful sunny weather here in Galway over these past few days and we returned home feeling duly relaxed and refreshed.

Bridie Loughman


The Alps from a bus window.---- Doug.

Saving the planet's fossil fuel

Trip to Lido Di Jesolo (2010)

On Saturday September 11th a group of 47 departed Ballinasloe at 3.00 a.m. to catch our Aer Lingus flight to Venice at 8.30 a.m. When we arrived in Venice at 11.05 a.m. local time we were excited to see a cloudless blue sky and feel the warmth of the air. Our holiday began on reaching our 4 star Cambridge Hotel. We rested for a couple of hours as we had such an early start to the day. Dinner was at 7.00 p.m. so we dressed up in our finery, came down in the lift and waited eagerly outside the restaurant door. The beautiful stained glass door was opened, a musician played a rousing tune as we marched in and were presented with a red rose and sat down to an 8 course candlelit gala dinner. What a great start to our holiday!

The hotel is situated by a lovely beach with recliners and parasols to accommodate the guests. A lovely pool just outside the hotel is a relaxing place to sit or sun oneself furnished with recliners and parasols too.

On Tuesday a group went to Venice and visited St. Mark’s Square and many other interesting places. We, who remained in Jesolo, cycled on 4 wheeled bicycles steered by some of the men and pedalled around the town on cycle lanes. It was great fun and a lovely leisurely way to explore the town.

On Thursday a group went to Verona and Lake Garda and a small group of 7 or 8 went to the Dolomites and Cortina. The weather remained glorious and sunny until Friday which was cloudy and rainy and there was a downpour on Friday night. Some of us went to Padua on Saturday to visit St. Anthony’s tomb. We touched the black stone at the back of it and petitioned him for our personal intentions.

At night time after dinner we walked off our calories either on the beach walkway or down town. Games of bridge and 25 were played some nights. The weather was good again on Sunday and Monday and people sunned themselves on the beach. Most of the group had massages during the week so we arrived back in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon really relaxed after a fabulous holiday in Lido Di Jesolo.

Ann Killeen

"Who needs Italy"

Galway visit sept. 2010

Ballinasloe Active Retirement travelled to the Galway Bay Hotel for a short stay in Galway City. As happens on occasions, the weather was very kind to us despite a bad weather forecast.
Salthill was a busy place, full of visitors. We had a great time and enjoyed lovely walks on the prom. Then on our last night we attended a concert called Trad on the Prom at the neighbouring Salthill Hotel. It was a wonderful production by the Fahy family and Chris Kelly. Anyone who enjoys traditional music would appreciate the talents of this very musical family. It was the perfect finish to our short holiday.

Bridie Loughman
News Bulletin from your Social Committee – Sept.’10

· Balance on the Ara-Go-On event
in the Salthill Hotel on Oct. 11th will be taken up on Wed. 22nd Sept. in the Shearwater Hotel. (€170 single and €135 sharing)

· Horse racing, corporate style, will be held in Galway this year on Bank holiday Mon.25th October. Cost for a four course meal without wine, on third floor with a view of track will be €55 + cost of bus. If interested, please give your name to-day.

· Your annual Christmas outing outing to Dublin will be on the 8th – 9th Dec.’10

Looking ahead to 2011--------------
· Dinner/Dance in Gullane’s Hotel, Friday, February 4th 2011

· For our Spring break in Ireland we visit the lovely Co. Tipperary, early April

· London is the chosen venue for our city break in May

· There are on-going investigations for an exciting sun holiday in the Autumn

· Watch out for Cruise news in Spring 2012 !!!

Ø Make full use of your diary to help you to remember which trip you have signed on for--- date, cost, deposit paid, balance due, etc.

Chris O’Flynn (Secretary) Phone 090- 9642870 or 087-6492466

T.V. Interview

Some B.A.R.A. members who took part in a interview process that may be screened in the near future. This pilot programme hopes to make the younger generations realise the wealth of experience and knowledge that is available at their grandparents door. Seniors from various parts of the country participated in this venture.

Galway Walk 2010

Galway Walk
10th July

Writes John Boland

For me, a childhood trip to Galway always conjours up memories of Salthill and that stretch between the Hangar and Blackrock.

Here we parked, unloaded cousins, aunts, assorted parents, baskets of food, flasks of hot tea, large Mi-Wadi bottles of diluted orange and sandwiches which were beginning to turn a Marakesh red due to the bleaching of the tomato and ham filling. For some unknown reason they always tasted of sand!

But there was magic in that sand-------- Galway magic.
Across the bay we could see the hills of
Clare, which for many years I thought was America, having heard that Boston was the next parish to Galway. We were never allowed to await the sun going down on Galway bay, always on the road home"before the
evening traffic"

The magic of Galway was awakened for 25+ members of Ballinasloe A.R.A. on Tues last as they undertook a guided walk to some of this famous city’s places of interest.Our guide, Fiona Brennan, a Londoner did not speak in “ a language that the stranger did not know” but was as Galway as anyone could wish.

Meeting in Eyre Square after an early morning train journey----thanks again, Charlie Haughey---Fiona began her 90 minute tour by filling us in on some of the history of the square. Markets,
jousting, fights, sieges, Padraig O Connaire, J.K.F., 14 tribes, folk lore, history, celebs and blackguards all had moments of notoriety here.

On Shop St., we join the bronze still figures of Samuel Beckett and his Estonian co-writer, who share a seat and gaze eternally at the models in Brown Thomas window. On to Lynches castle then with its four stories, fireplace from Menlo Castle and a fireman monkey saving a baby from fire.
At the old Pro-Cathedral, Fiona reminds us always to look up when in Galway if we wish to catch glimpses of the many fine examples of limestone masonry. At the revamped Augustinian Church, we can also observe Wolfe Tones window over Buttermilk Lane where he wrote much of his revolutionary ideas, and no doubt the odd letter to Mary Martin whom we shall meet later.
The Tabhdhearc was locked, so we walked on to the Spanish Arch---- once four arches but now reduced to 1.5.
The echoes of flamenco dances, clicking castanets, and dark complexions still haunt these open spaces around the Cladagh, between the tidal Corrib and the old Galway port. The famous ring fashioned by a Joyce for an Arab bride has given the place an international fame.

At Kirwin’s Castle and Lane we learn of “Humanity” Dick Martin,
founder of R.S.P.C.A.and his theatre loving wife, also friend of Wolfe Tone.

Here is a Church open all day,a shrine to the Connaught Rangers, Knight Templers, beautiful masonry and stainglass windows.Our final stop was at Lynch’s window, that symbol of over-zealous loyalty to law and order. A good day all told and not a sandy sandwich in sight! The group dispersed to eateries and hostelries, well and widely positioned in this great city.

On to the King’s Head pub next, where a pint will never taste the same again after we learned that the original owners were Cromwellion soldiers who executed a king and stabled their horses in St. Nicholas’ Cathedral!

Photographs Brendan Smith

"The Plough and the Stars 2010

“The Plough and the Stars” by Seán O’Casey
On Saturday August 14th 30 members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association went to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin to see Seán O’Casey’s classic play, “The Plough and the Stars”. This play is regarded as his masterpiece and the one most closely associated with the Abbey Theatre.
After our train to Heuston and lunch in Wynns Hotel, we arrived at the Abbey for the afternoon matinee in great anticipation. We were not disappointed. It was a wonderful production with a cast of sixteen. There are four acts and I always marvel at the ease with which one act blends in so easily into the next.
It is a very intimate play about the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary times. The play is set in a tenement house and the period is the 1916 Easter Rising. Jack and Nora Clitheroe are a young couple. Jack is a member of the Irish Citizen Army but Nora doesn’t want him to have anything to do with it as she loves him and wants him to stay. However, when Ireland calls, Jack must choose between love for his wife and duty to his country.
The play involves tragedy but has moments of comedy and farce as well. The overall mood is one of hopelessness in the face of violence in Ireland in 1916. It shows the futility of violence when compared to the basic problems of the tenement inhabitants, such as poverty, illness, loneliness and unhappiness.
Throughout the play there are scenes of great joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. The character Fluther Good provides great comic moments with his turn of phrase but it is the great destruction caused by conflict and violence which becomes increasingly evident as the play progresses. Nora suffers because of her husband’s absence. Mrs. Grogan suffers because of her sick child Mollser. Bessie Burgess, despite showing great kindness to Nora in her hour of need, is committed to the opposing British forces and pays the ultimate price.
Altogether a very satisfying theatrical experience was had by all.

Bridie Loughman

St. Brigit's Gardens and Aughnanure Castle

Careful Deirdre the gang are watching.

Our visit to St Brigit’s Gardens and Aughnanure Castle

A fine sunny day is what we hoped for as 36 of us boarded our bus headed for Brigit’s Gardens, near Oughterard on 4th Aug. ‘10
As we sped down the motorway, we felt as excited as schoolchildren on our first school outing. As soon as our bus arrived at the Gardens, we were met and welcomed by a very charming tour guide, Sabina. We enjoyed delicious tea, coffee and scones before setting off on our tour of this beautiful, Celtic inspired garden. As you stroll through the garden you explore the cycle of the seasons. Then you emerge onto a nature trail to discover a stone chamber, a crannog and a calendar sun dial. We checked out the hand-crafted basket swings and sat on the 6000 years old bog-oak throne. We refreshed our senses with scents of herbs and wild flowers .
It was a magical experience particularly enjoyed by the keen gardeners in our group who sniffed and admired the wonderful display of wild flowers.
Reluctant to leave these beautiful ,relaxing surroundings, we journeyed on for a visit to Aughnanure Castle which lies in picturesque surroundings close to the shores of Lough Corrib. Here we were again given a very informative guided tour of this Castle built by the O’Flahertys c.1500. The O’Flahertys and the powerful Mayo O’Malleys were joined in the marriage of Donal an Chogaidh O’Flaherty and Grainuaile/Grace O’Malley. The Castle is a particularly well preserved example of an Irish tower house.
We finished off a very full and interesting day in Kelehans Restaurant in Bushy Park. With hearty appetites, we sat down and enjoyed a lovely meal in beautiful surroundings before setting out on our journey home.
It was the last of our Summer day trips for 2010 but a memorable one it was for all of us.

Signed: Chris O’Flynn

Photo of members of Ballinasloe Active Retirement Knitting Group supporting Age Action Ireland in their “Innocent Big Knit” campaign
Knit some woolly hats for the Innocent smoothie bottles. For every smoothie bottle with a woolly hat sold, 25 cent will be given to Age Action. They are aiming for 90,000 hats from all over Ireland. By joining in this we will be helping Age Action to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society this winter.
The money raised will go towards Age Action Ireland’s annual winter warmth public education campaign.

Bridie Loughman PRO

New Contact Address

All queries, messages, photos, comment to;


50th Wedding Anniversary

Martin and Bridy Loughman celebrating their golden wedding Anniversary

Cong July 2010

Trip to Cong
On Wed. 14th July’10, 47 members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association had a very pleasant trip to Cong. We started off by bus from St.Michael’s square at 8.30 a.m.. The weather forecast was bad, but we needn’t have worried as we managed during the day to escape most of the showers.
We drove to the pretty village of Cong and from there we took a boat up the Corrib. Our Captain gave us an entertaining talk as we passed various islands. He told us that many years ago the Corrib was a busy trading area, boats plying up the full length to the City of Galway. He also told us about the Canal that never was! A lot of time and money and manpower was spent in digging this canal between the Corrib and Lough Mask. When it was eventually finished, the porous limestone could not hold the water, so the canal had to be abandoned.
After the boat trip, we went to see Ashford Castle and were impressed by it’s size and the beautiful grounds. . Unfortunately we were not residents and were not allowed inside. A few intrepid members of our group peeped in the door, and some more courageous went into the diningroom.
Then we went to Ryan’s Hotel for our lunch. And a very good lunch it was too!
After lunch we were taken on a tour of the sites of the film “The Quiet Man” We had a very witty and entertaining guide who encouraged us to act out parts from the film. This started off with Jimmy Lyons being allocated the part of “the dying man” This character in the film, hearing that a fight had started in the street outside his house forgot about dying, jumped our of bed and ran the length of the street while holding up his trousers!
After getting off to such a good start, we all entered into the spirit of the thing, and enjoyed all the “craic”
We got back to Ballinasloe at 6.15, tired but happy with our day and thankful to Bridie Whelan and Chris O’Flynn for all the hard work of organising the outing.

Signed: Eileen Quinn

Members try out as extras on the set of "The Quiet Man"

Scotland Summer 2010

Social Commitee Bridie - Chris - Margaret

Saturday, June 26th to Thursday, July 1st 2010


Ballinasloe 3.30 am, fifty-nine of us gathered in the gloom and left by coach for Dublin Airport, arriving at approximately 5 am. From there we travelled to Prestwick where our “Highland Heritage” coach and driver awaited us. On our way north we had some time in the city of Stirling. Some of the party took the opportunity to do shopping and sightseeing; others, suffering from the after-effects of lack of sleep, found quiet corners in which to relax. On then to our hotel in Tyndrum, having viewed “Hamish” on the way. What can we say about our hotel? Situated in a beautiful spot, surrounded by mountains, it was like an oasis after our long journey. We were warmly welcomed by the manager, resplendent in his kilt. He took the opportunity to lay down some simple ground rules - times of meals, nightly entertainment, etc. The hotel was everything we could have wished for with comfortable bedrooms, very good food and nightly entertainment after dinner.


Started wet but by the time we reached Loch Lomand for our cruise the rain had almost ceased. We enjoyed the cruise and after proceeded to Helensburg, a lovely little town on the estuary of the River Clyde. By now the sun had appeared and we had a grand afternoon.


Today saw us head northwest, passing through Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, the latter the sight of the massacre of the McDonalds by the Campbells. Our driver told us that a local hostelry boasts a sign to the effect that no Campbells would be served there! On through Fort William where we stopped briefly, for refreshments and a bit of shopping, before proceeding over the Caledonian Canal, where we saw “Neptune’s Staircase”- a man-made structure, beautiful in its own way. On to the fishing village of Mallaig for lunch and a stroll around this seaside place with a view of nearby islands. Back then, to our hotel, through spectacular scenery.


We travelled southwest to the Isle of Bute, reached from the mainland by a four minute ferry ride. Our bus then took us to Rothesay, the island’s principal town where, after lunch, we had a few hours for sightseeing, in glorious sunshine. We noticed, among other things, a small commemorative plaque to the men of Bute, who, in 1298 left the island to join William Wallace in his fight against the English. None of them survived.

Our last full day took us west on a short journey to Oban, a very busy port. There was no shortage of restaurants or shops and we had an enjoyable few hours before going south to the Isle of Seil. Here our driver drew our attention to the humpbacked bridge which brought us on to the island. She promised to let us leave the bus on the way back to, as she put it, “walk across the Atlantic”, which we duly did but not before spending some time on the quaint little island. Wednesday night, being our last night, we had a gala dinner at the hotel. Some of us even managed to eat the haggis, a Scottish delicacy, which is much like our own white pudding. This was piped into the dining room with due ceremonial.


Early start this morning, in the rain, which persisted for some time as we went south but, thankfully, had cleared by the time we reached Prestwick. Our flight to Dublin was pleasant. Our coaches met us at the airport and we carried on to the Spa Hotel in Lucan for a very welcome and substantial meal. This had been arranged by our hard working committee. An hour and a half on the coach found us in Ballinasloe at 6 pm, tired, but well content after a great holiday.

It is only fitting before we finish that we should give full credit to the committee who arranged everything so efficiently - they even had enough money left to pay for our meal in Lucan. Well done!

Maureen O’Malley
Noreen Briscoe

''The Miser'' Roscommon Arts Centre

“The Miser” at Roscommon Arts Centre
The Lyric Theatre from Belfast presented its adaptation of the play The Miser by Moliere in the Roscommon Arts Centre on June 25th 2010. It is on a nationwide tour. So we, members of BARA, went along to see it.
Having had a delicious meal in the Abbey Hotel, we arrived at the Arts Centre for 8pm and had a delightful evening. The actors and actresses were superb and as for Andy Gray, the Scottish actor doing the Miser, he was just the best I have ever seen. It was such a pleasure to see him act out his part and even involve the audience as well. The costumes were beautifully designed and appropriate to 17th century France.
The miser is a rich moneylender called Harpingon, from whom his children long to escape. Harpingon has decided that his children are costing him too much money and must be married off. He has found an old man, who won’t demand a dowry, for his daughter Elise and a rich widow for his son Cléante. Unfortunately, Elise is already in love with Harpingon’s servant and his son is in love with the penniless Mariane, whom Harpingon has decided to take on as his own wife. He is convinced that his children are plotting to rob him. Then he finds to his horror that the fortune he buried in his garden has been stolen and that’s when the real fun starts......!
We all really enjoyed this comedy and would highly recommend it.

Bridie Loughman

Dublin outing

Our Dublin Outing
Our June outing took us to Kilmainham Gaol and Croke Park. We travelled by train on June 16th and had a most enjoyable trip.
Kilmainham Gaol was our first stop. It is a former prison, built in 1796 and is a witness to the turbulent years from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth.
It was the most infamous prison in Ireland. Here Ireland’s greatest rebels were imprisoned and many were executed. It was opened four years before the Act of Union abolished the Irish Parliament. Irish prisoners were imprisoned here, including Charles Stuart Parnell and Robert Emmet, also leaders of the 1916 Rising. After the Rising the leaders were condemned to death by firing squad in the prison yard. Our guide informed us that when Joseph Plunkett was condemned to death, he and his girlfriend Grace Gifford were married in the prison chapel, just hours before he was executed.
Eventhough this deserted prison was depressing, cold and dismal, it was worth visiting, in order to pay homage to those honourable patriots of the past.

Next our trip took us Croke Park Stadium and the headquarters of the GAA. Today Croke Park is one of the largest stadiums in Europe after a 12 year redevelopment programme.
After a delicious lunch, in the corporate suite, we were given a tour of the stadium. We were shown the Hogan Stand, the Cusack Stand and Hill 16, together with the player facilities. Some of our group even tried out the VIP area to really try to feel the atmosphere one experiences when Up for the Match.
We returned home on the 5.45 train to Ballinasloe, tired, but more than satisfied with our Dublin visit.

Bridie Loughman

Ronan charms B.A.R.A'S

Our trip on June 5th to the Town Hall Theatre Galway to attend Ronan Tynan in concert was a most enjoyable occasion. All thirty of us, of course, are admirers of Ronan and the amazing courageous life which he has led. He lost both legs in an accident but recovered to become a medical doctor, specialising in orthopaedic sports injuries. He then studied music in Trinity College and won the John McCormack Cup for tenor voice. He made his operatic debut as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madam Butterfly.
Ronan’s repertoire on the night included many well-known favourites such as Amazing Grace, Sing me an Irish Song, The Fields of Athenry, Danny Boy, Hallelujah, Red is the Rose, Grace, Ave Maria – to name but a few. Interspersed throughout the performance were witty anecdotes from Ronan about his experiences on stage. Kay Lynch, a wonderful soprano, was his guest artist and also sang a few duets with Ronan. Encores included a lovely jazz melody from the Deep South. Afterwards Ronan signed copies of his CDs.
Bridie Loughman

Irish Times PFIZER Health Forum

On June 1st four members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement attended a debate on “The Ignored Demographic: Older People in Ireland” at NUI Galway. Fintan O’Toole, Assistant Editor of the Irish Times chaired the meeting. The speakers were Áine Brady TD (Minister for State with responsibility for Older People), Dr. Shaun O’Keeffe (Consultant in Geriatric Medicine), Robin Webster (CEO, Age Action) and Maureen Kavanagh (CEO, Active Retirement Ireland). This debate was organised by the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament. Representing Ballinasloe Active Retirement were Jimmy Crehan, Bridie Loughman, Anne Killeen and Douglas Rafter.

Bridie Loughman

Congratulations to our own Chris O’Flynn who received a nomination to the Ballinasloe Mayor’s Awards held last week in the Shearwater Hotel. Her nomination was in the Social and Community Support category. Chris, one of the founder members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association, has worked tirelessly over the years for the members of the association.
At the award ceremony our Mayor, Johnny Walsh, acknowledged people who have made a positive contribution to the quality of life in Ballinasloe. The Mayor said that there was no greater accolade than being recognised by your own community.
Well done Chris!
Bridie Loughman, PRO

Heart News

I wish to share this information with our members.....Doug. editor

Let's say it's 6.15pm and you're driving home (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job.

You're really tired, and frustrated……


Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw.

You are only five miles from the hospital nearest your home.

Unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far















Defibulator Course

Participants of the first course in the use of our new defibulator.
(Stading from left). Deirdre Hogan, Gabriel Rohan, Chris O'Flynn,
Douglas Rafter, Nancy Ward.

Bealtaine Festival Spring 2010

The Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association held its Bealtaine Festival in Gullane's Hotel on Friday, May 14th. Bealtaine is the national arts festival celebrating creativity in older age. The overall theme of the festival for 2010 is 'Have dreams and speak them without fear'.
A large number of members were in attendance. Master of Ceremonies was well-know local actor John Boland, who treated the audience to a delightful recitation of “The Village Schoolmaster” by Oliver Goldsmith. A wonderful night of music and song was provided by the Active Retirement’s own BARA Singers, ably assisted by visiting choirs from Athlone and Portumna. Musical director for the night was Marie Power. The audience sang along to some of the beautiful airs, with a few even performing solo as well.
The winners of the Bealtaine photo competition were Daphne Kenny and Eileen Kelly. A lovely exhibition of art by members of the art group was on display, as well as an exhibition of knitting by the knitting group who donate their work to an orphanage in Belarus. There was also a large display of photos of past events and places visited by the Active Retirement Association.
The Chairperson, Gabriel Rohan, worked tirelessly to make this festival a huge success.
Bridie Loughman, PRO

Finbar Wright in Concert---Galway

On May 1st a group of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association attended a Finbar Wright concert in the Town Hall Theatre in Galway. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of entertainment listening to Finbar’s beautiful singing and his talented group of backing musicians.
Finbar Wright is one of Ireland’s most accomplished singers and is also a very engaging and entertaining performer. He has won many accolades over the last twenty years at home and abroad. He is one of Ireland’s great singers of romantic songs and ballads. During the two hour concert he sang such favourites as “Whatever You Believe”, “How Great thou Art”, “Bright Blue Rose”, “La Bamba” and many more.
Finbar is a classically trained tenor and is also fluent in Spanish, Italian and French. He is very spiritual and always includes one piece, at least, of sacred music in every concert. Last night’s concert was no exception.
Our members were very appreciative of his wonderful performance. His easy style, vocal range and pleasant personality ensured a wonderful evening of song, memories of which will linger for some time to come.
Bridie Loughman

Wexford in Spring

On Sunday 11th April a group of Ballinasloe Active Retirement members set off to Wexford on our spring holiday. We had three wonderful days full of activities and excursions, with nightly sing-songs and a few games of Bridge.

The journey there and back was a little tiring but we stopped on the way for coffee and lunch. Of course the good weather added greatly to our trip and the whole countryside was a mass of colour in the sunny south-east.

We visited the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Arboretum and marvelled at the variety of shrubs and trees. The visit to the Dunbrody famine ship was a sobering experience as we encountered the harrowing experiences of our forefathers. We visited Our Lady’s Island. We were impressed by the stories of the many pilgrims that go there and of the many cures attributed through the intercession of Our Lady. So we lit some candles in the church and got holy water from the holy well there and prayed for the intentions of all our families and our sick members who were unable to be with us.

Hook Head Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse in Europe, was very interesting and we enjoyed the guided tour. Afterwards we visited the cafe and browsed in the craft shop. The Irish National Heritage Park is where we learned about the history of Ireland and is located 3 miles from Wexford town. The centre recreates the history and heritage of Ireland from the Stone Age to the arrival of the Vikings and Early Normans. The Vikings came to Ireland at the end of the 8th century, first plundering the natives but later coming here to trade and settle. Our trip would not be complete without visiting the National 1798 Centre in Enniscorthy. This is an award-winning centre, located in the shadow of Vinegar Hill, beside the picturesque River Slaney. Ghost-like life-size plaster figures represent the people of 18th century Ireland. A visit to this centre is a must for all visitors.

Our hotel, the Talbot, was situated in the middle of the town of Wexford. Many of the rooms had a view of the sea. The staff were friendly and professional and the food was well-presented and delicious.

To date this was one of our most enjoyable spring holidays.

Bridie Loughman

Rose Moore RIP

It was with much regret that we learned of the death of Rose Moore at the weekend. Rose was a much cherished member of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association and had been for many years.
She was a very pleasant lady who enjoyed the company of other members and had a smile for all. A native of Ahascragh, her husband Paddy predeceased her many years ago. She raised her beloved family of two sons, Philip and Niall, and one daughter, Rosemary, single-handedly. She was a wonderful mother who was always there for her children. As she herself would say “I was there when they needed me”.
She was gentle, kind and loving to her family and to her many friends.
She loved a game of Bridge. Her bidding was always very exact as she played by the rules and never made another player feel inadequate. She smiled whenever she lost and was quick to congratulate her opponents.
She very much appreciated all the help given to her by her good friend Angela Courcey. Rose could always rely on her friend in good and bad times.
We shared many lovely trips at home and abroad. Especially memorable was our first cruise with Rose and we have many other happy memories of her, a kind and gentle lady.
May she rest in peace.

Once again B.A.R.A. goes to the dogs

At 6pm on Friday 12th March a bus load of excited ARA members left Ballinasloe for an evening at the Dogs in Galway. Some members were on their 3rd or even maybe their 4th trip so they knew exactly where to go when we arrived.
Met by a very friendly staff we were seated quickly and began to check the form of the dogs, not that it made much difference to many of us.
We were served a delicious meal. It was hard to concentrate on eating while placing our bets and watching the races but we managed. We had some wins but I don't think anyone made serious money.
The journey home on the new moterway was a first.
Noelle Rohan

St. Patricks Day 2010

It was a beautiful spring day on March 17th of this year as a group from the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association took part in our local St. Patrick’s Day parade. Many from our walking group were in attendance together with other members.

We paraded in our national colours of green, white and orange and happily waved the Tricolour. To everyone’s delight we took first place in the Voluntary Category. We were so proud to be Irish! Given the blue sky and pleasant sunshine many spectators came out to watch and applaud all the participants in the parade.

Afterwards members who would have found the walk too difficult to participate in, joined the victorious members as we gathered in Gullanes Hotel for refreshments. And so another St. Patricks Day celebration came to a close.

B.A.R.A. 2010 Activities

Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association

Activities Timetable 2010

Monthly meetings for all members : 1st Wednesday of every month @ 3pm in Gullane’s Hotel, Main St.

Informal meetings (tea/coffee/chat) every other Wednesday @ 3pm in the Shearwater Hotel

Various courses, Creative and learning programmes and informative talks are arranged throughout the year.

As “Be Active, Be Healthy” remains out motto, members are encouraged to participate in the activity of their choice

Enquiries to :Kaye Killeen, Hon. Secretary. Phone: 090- 9642597 or Chris O’Flynn ( Social Secretary). Phone: 090-9642870

Aquarobics 2-3 pm Leisure centre/
Kingfisher club
Monday and Thursday

Bowls 7.30 - 10pm John Shea Hall Creagh

Bridge 8pm Bridge rooms Sarsfield Rd.
Monday-beginners Tuesday and Friday

Book Club 4pm Library
2nd Tuesday of every month

Singing group 10.30 - 12.30 Family Centre

Knitting /crafts group
(blankets for Belarus)
10.30 - 12.30 Gullanes Hotel

Pitch and Putt (Weather permitting) Creagh training centre, Creagh Rd.

Walking club 10.30 - 12.30 Pearse’s G.A.A Club,(winter ) and various places of interest (summer)

Annual Dinner Dance Feb. 2010

Jack and Rose White celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary with fellow B.A.R.A members. The annual Christmas dinner dance was posponed from Janurary due to adverse weather conditions

Mario Lanza


A group of us travelled to the National Concert Hall in Dublin on 10 February 2010 to attend a concert celebrating the music of the great American tenor Mario Lanza.
The main auditorium was full to capacity as the music was beautifully sung by three accomplished Irish classical singers - Seán Costello, tenor and his guests Niall Morris, special guest tenor (ex The Celtic Tenors) and Sandra Oman, soprano. Musical accompaniment was excellently provided by Vladimir Jablokov and his Slovak Festival Musicians.
We were full of anticipation on the bus up to Dublin and we were not disappointed by a wonderful night’s entertainment. We listened again to all the great songs and duets made famous by the great Mario Lanza during his short life. He died tragically in 1959 of a heart attack at only 38 leaving behind a young family. His rich and powerful voice had captivated the world of opera, stage and film throughout the 1950s. The voices of Seán, Niall and Sandra brought back lovely memories of these times with wonderful renditions of such songs as On The Street Where You Live, Ave Maria, The Loveliest Night of The Year, Be My Love, O Sole Mio, Because You're Mine, Panis Angelicus and many more.
His well-known films, The Great Caruso and The Student Prince, influenced opera stars such as José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. He set a high standard for all great singers who followed in his footsteps.
On our way home we could still hear his great songs reverberating in our heads and hearts and although we were tired, a wonderful night of music and song had been enjoyed by all.
Bridie Loughman

Theatre Review

Christ Deliver Us, by Thomas Kilroy

On Saturday 20th February a group of Ballinasloe Active Retirement members attended a new play in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, called Christ Deliver Us.
It was superb, the best play I have seen in the Abbey for some time.
Eventhough the subject matter was dark and regrettable, the whole of life in the fifties was treated so comprehensively and professionally that it was entertaining in many parts.
Our members found the play to be very open and honest as it depicts the innocence and pain of growing up in 1950s Ireland.
The playwright, Thomas Kilroy, was inspired by the German drama “Spring Awakening”. This play is about young people growing up in a repressed society
Much of Thomas Kilroy’s play is based on the author’s own school days in Kilkenny in the 1950s. The physical abuse and lack of instruction to young people was endemic in Ireland at that time.
There is a cast of 25 and the action takes place in various locations, including an Industrial School and a Diocesan College. The play is directed by Wayne Jordan and is well worth a visit.
On our journey home we had much to discuss on this complex period in Irish History.
Bridie Loughman

A.G.M. Ballinasle A.R.A.

Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association AGM
The Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association held its AGM in Gullane’s Hotel on Wednesday, February 3rd 2010
The meeting was chaired by Gabriel Rohan.
Margaret McDonnell, the outgoing Secretary, praised members for their active participation in the association during the year. Regular activities include aquarobics, bowling, a book club, a singing group and a walking group.
Chris O’Flynn, Secretary of the Social Committee, reported on another very full year of social activities and trips, both home and abroad.

The following Officers for 2010 were elected:
Chairman: Gabriel Rohan Vice-Chairman: John Boland
Secretary: Kaye Killeen Assistant Secretary: Margaret Brennan
Treasurer: Douglas Rafter
Assistant Treasurer: Ollie Hanniffy PRO: Bridie Loughman
Committee members: Anne Killeen, Deirdre Hogan, Una O’Reilly, Sean Carrick and Margaret MacDonnell