Regional Christmas 2016 in Sheerwater Hotel


Ballinasloe played host to 200 Active Retirement Members from the Western Region.

Photos Chris O'Flynn    P.R.O.

Galway Races Outing -Oct. 31st ‘16

Galway Races Outing -Oct. 31st ‘16

It was Halloween weekend so that meant it was time again for the race-going members of the Active Retirement group to pay a return annual visit to Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway.

We boarded our bus in Ballinasloe with hope and determination to this time beat the bookies. For some, that wasn’t to be however. After a beautiful four-course meal and hot punch in the comfort of the Millennium stand, we began the serious business of studying form of horses, trainers and jockeys in an effort to pick a winner. The excitement grew from the time of the announcement “they’re off” to “winner alright”. Then it was time to place our bets on the next race.

Even though nobody made a fortune or lost their shirt, it proved to be a most enjoyable and relaxing day. We look forward to next year’s outing P.G.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O)










Canaries Cruise , Oct. 2016

Our Canaries Cruise ,Oct. 2016

28 members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Assoc. recently returned from a very enjoyable Cruise to the Canary Islands.

We set off bleary-eyed in the early hours of the morning on the 1st leg of our journey from Ballinasloe to Southampton where we excitedly embarked on the majestic “Independence of the Seas” ship.

For the next two days, we sailed down the somewhat choppy Bay of Biscay and were glad to make our first stop in the Island of Madeira. We had a full day to explore this lovely island before we sailed away again to sunny Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaries.                                                          /

Our 1st time cruisers took the opportunity to explore all the things one “must do and see” on these islands from deep-sea diving to wine tasting. Others were happy to relax on board ship, take a dip in the many pools or hot tubs, play mini golf or shuffle board, have a beer in the many bars or soak up the much needed sunshine.

On the return journey, we spent a most pleasant day in the beautiful town of Vigo, Spain. We availed of some retail therapy as we strolled around admiring the magnificent buildings and tree lined avenues.

The temperature gradually dropped as we travelled north to Southampton where our bus was waiting to take us to the airport. It was time to don the woolly hats and scarves when we reached Dublin.

Our Cruise was an enjoyable experience and even though we were glad to be on home ground again, we felt a little sad as we said good-bye to all our pleasant travelling companions.

We thank sincerely all those who helped to organise this memorable trip.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O.)




Jimmy Crehan – A Tribute by Chris O'Flynn


Jimmy Crehan, who passed away recently, was a man of many talents with many interests. He will be particularly missed by the members of the Ballinasloe Active Retirement Association.

Jimmy was elected Chairman of the group at our first meeting in Hayden’s Hotel in March 2002 and remained an active member at both local and national levels , right up to the time of his death. He was an extremely popular, hard-working and enthusiastic chairman and he paid a big part in steering the association from its uncertain beginning to the large, thriving successful group it is to-day.

Even though he was retired from his “day job” he was very aware that retirement – especially for those who live alone- created a huge void in one’s life .He believed that knowledge was freedom, so he fought to bring awareness and information to those in need, especially  Active Retirement members. He organised talks and information sessions on subjects such as heart problems, strokes, blood pressure, Diabetes, Depression and the Psychology of ageing. Huge numbers attended all these talks.

Jimmy was involved in one of our greatest achievements to date including. the making of a Film Documentary entitled “What will we do in the Autumn” (now available in DVD) This was made in conjunction with the Galway Film Festival. He also played his part in a major project entitled “Fado Fado”.as he reminisced on his childhood memories of rural life in Ireland in the 1st half of the 20th century. This was done in collaboration with Brendan Smith from the D.E.R.I Institute at Galway University. Jimmy very proudly accepted a well deserved award on behalf of the Association for this project.

In Jimmy’s own words our members lived in“ the era of the paraffin oil lamp”so it was a big leap forward into the age of technology. With gentle persuasion and encouragement from Jimmy, we gradually became members of the “silver surfers” under the patient tuition of Brendan Smith.

Jimmy’s vast knowledge and experience gained from a lifetime in St. Brigid’s Hospital, he was instrumental in compiling the first, and so far only, history of  St. Brigid’s Hospital. An achievement encouraged by B.A.R.A and an accurate record of one of the largest institutions to be built in Ballinasloe

We will miss Jimmy’s smiling face and sense of humour and thank him for his guidance, wisdom and commitment in all our activities

To his beloved wife, Maureen and lovely family we extend our deepest sympathy.
 May he rest in peace.

By Chris O’Flynn.  P.R.O.   August 2016

Jimmy Crehan R.I.P.


    Jimmy with his beloved Maureen.

Aras an Uachtarain Report

Our trip to Aras an Uachtarain

A full coach of 53members went on our day trip to Aras an Uachtarain on Wednesday 20th July.  On arrival we were welcomed by two Army Personnel and treated to tea/coffee and the most gorgeous nibbles. We felt like royalty as we sipped from delicate china cups and surveyed the splendid surroundings.
Our President wasn’t at home that day but our guide gave us an insight into his daily life as president. We gazed in awe at the beautiful paintings of all the past presidents and surroundings as we strolled from room to room. The guide gave us a very informative and interesting history of this beautiful house and gardens. Visiting dignitaries to our little nation must indeed be impressed by this magnificent building.
We then walked the Queen’s walk and admired all the trees which were planted by various visiting members of Royal families down through the years. The manicured gardens were a sight to behold – a sea of colour and beauty.
In the afternoon we continued on to the Zoo where we were served lovely soup and sandwiches..Many of us had not been to visit the Zoo since we took our own children there a long, long ago, so it was a pleasant experience to see the big improvements. It was lovely to stroll around in the sunshine admiring all the animals, birds etc.and the wonders of nature. There were a few who chose to sit, chat, have an ice-cream and watch the world go by.
After a very active and enjoyable day, we finished up with dinner in the Castle in Tyrellspass on the way home.
I think we should say many thanks to Michael Walsh who put so much into organising this lovely day’s outing.

Chris O’Flynn 20/07/16

Songfest 2016

Click on photo to enlarge

Doug Rafter