Farewell to Celia McCafferty

We said good-bye this week to a great lady. Celia was one of the first members to join the Active Retirement Association.
 Thankfully,it changed her life for the better as she had been very lonely since the untimely death of her beloved husband Gary.
Her name was first on the list for every outing, play,film, dinner,holiday,whatever. Always well "turned out" and nails beautifully painted, she made the most of every occasion and made many friends. Celia was so appreciative and never ever failed to say "thank you" to the committee  at the end of each trip.
On a personal level I have to say how much I appreciated that little drop of brandy and ginger discreetly left for me as a thank you for being the founder member of the A.R.A. All I can say Celia is it was a pleasure having you along.
I hope you are enjoying your new home in Heaven. Now you can enjoy your "fag" in comfort.
May you rest in peace

Chris O'Flynn. Dec. '17

Galway Races 2017

It was Oct.Bank holiday once again so it was time for a return visit to the Galway Races.
32 members of the Ballinasloe A.R.A boarded the bus in the square for Galway with the hope of making a few "bob" on the horses.
We enjoyed a lovely 4 course meal and mulled wine in the comfort of the Mellinium Stand
While some ladies "in the know" regarding jockeys and trainers did very well,  - not much success however for those who placed their bet on the horse because they just "fancied the name".
It was a fun day out and nobody lost or gained a fortune.
Until the next time !!

Chris O'Flynn (P.R.O ) 31st.Oct'17


The Ara-Go-On Festival Sept. 2017

The Ara-Go-On Festival organised by the Western Region of the Active Retirement Assoc. was another successful event. This year, the three day event was held in the beautifully located Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, Co Clare. It was attended by 275 members from the western region, and once again, the largest group was from the Ballinasloe A.R.A.
Initially, it was a bit difficult finding our way around this huge hotel but over the three days we enjoyed beautiful large rooms, fantastic food, great entertainment including Fun Whist, Social Dancing (even in the morning) Aquarobics, Day trips to Loop Head and Lisdoonvarna, Spa treatments and various demonstrations. As the Hotel was located on the bank of the River Inagh, we enjoyed a few much needed riverside walks.
The very friendly staff served us a gorgeous Gala Dinner on the final evening followed by Entertainment and Dance.
It was a wonderful few days enjoyed by one and all. It provided a good opportunity to meet other members from the different A.R.A’s and renew old friendships.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O.) Sept. 2017

Lido-de-Jesolo, Italy, Sept 2017

Trip to Lido-de-Jesolo, Italy, Sept 2017

18 members of Ballinasloe Active Retirement group set off from Ballinasloe at the unearthly hour of 2 am on the first leg of our journey to Lido de Jesolo, Italy . This was a return trip for some to this lovely resort.

The familiar Cambridge Hotel, where we had previously stayed, was perfectly located on the sea front with approx. 7 Km of golden sandy beach.

Even though the weather was a bit mixed, it didn’t deter us from enjoying the various facilities available, particularly the gorgeous heated swimming pool with its many jets, the long walks on the prom, the mouth- watering restaurants and the huge variety of shops publicising their tempting “end of season” sales. No wonder our luggage weighed a bit heavier on the way home.!

Some went on an exciting day trip exploring the amazing city of Venice, the pearl of the Adriatic, and took a scenic cruise across the lagoon of Venice. Walking through 6 ins. of water in St Mark’s Sq.in our bare feet only added to the fun and excitement of our day out. We then boarded our boat to island hop on to Burano and Marano – a triple treat of the day.

Some more members of the group visited Verona, the enchanting city of Shakespeare and enjoyed their trip to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy,

Those who took the trip to Cortina and the Dolomites thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular scenery within one of the most elegant ski and summer resorts in Italy. Cortina itself was the scene of the winter Olympics of 1956 and now is a millionaire’s playground. However I don’t think any of our group are included in that particular category !!

Our only regret was we were unable to watch the All Ireland Football Final between Mayo and Dublin. However we had one very staunch Mayo woman amongst us. Dressed in her county colours, she proudly waved her green and red flag around the pool in Italy. We all helped to cheer on her home county but ,sadly, our support wasn’t heard in Croke Park. We were disappointed to hear Dublin won by a point.

Sun tanned and rested we arrived safely home having enjoyed yet another great Sunshine holiday abroad . We keep with us some nice memories during the long winter nights ahead.

Thanks to Deirdre Hogan and members of the Social Committee for all the organising.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O ) Sept .2017

St. Marks Square, Venice.




Castletown House Aug. 2017

OurTrip to Castletown House, August 2017

Our final day trip of Summer 2017 took us to Castletown House near Maynooth in Co.Kildare.

On arrival, two very pleasant tour guides took us room by room through this magnificent mansion built in 1720 for William Connolly, speaker of the Irish House of Commons. It became famous for its architectural excellence, fine style and lavish entertainment.

We stared in awe at the exquisite Murano glass chandeliers and collection of classical busts and statues, paintings, silk wall hangings and colourful wall paper. Much of the opulent interior decoration took place under the guidance of Lady Louisa, young wife of the second heir of Castletown, Thomas Connolly from 1760 – 1770.

In 1967 the Hon. Desmond Guinness bought the House and part of the estate and opened the mansion to the public. The O.P.W took over the property on behalf of the State in 1994

Leaving all this grandeur behind, we continued on our journey, stopping off for some retail therapy in Liffey Valley. Our day finished with a lovely meal in”Lukers” in Shannonbridge before we headed home to our humble abodes.

As we come to the end of our Summer outings, it is a good time to look back and reflect of the many trips and places we have visited since we started off in 2002. We have visited no less than 50 places on Day Trips, 8 City Breaks, Nineteen 4 day breaks in Ireland, 19 trips abroad,including 5 cruises. How lucky we are to have travelled so far and done so much during our golden years.

Once again thanks to the organisers.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O)

August 2017

Sligo June 2017

B.A.R.A.  Trip to Sligo

On Sunday the 25th of June 33 members of B.A.R.A. boarded Mc Guinley's coach for our 5day trip to the beautiful "Yeats Country "Sligo.We were welcomed on board by our bus driver who introduced himself as Kevin .We set off on our journey to arrive at Rosses Point where we had lunch in Yeats Country Hotel ,after lunch some walked along the beach while others relaxed in the foyer . We continued our journey to where we were based in the lovely Glass House Hotel in Sligo town .We checked in ,relaxed in our room or took in a bit of sightseeing before our dinner at 7pm.

Day 2 We travelled to Glencar Waterfall located in the Lovely Leitrim about 8miles North of Sligo town ,nestled at the foot of Benbulben. By no means a huge waterfall ,it's setting and charm inspired W.B.Yeats in " The Stolen Child ",after a tea and coffee break we continued our journey to Drumcliff ,a town best known as the final resting place of W.B.Yeats . Yeats grave is in the Church Yard of St. Columbus Church where his great Grandfather was once a rector .His grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription " Cast a cold eye on life ,on death ,horseman ,pass by " this was Yeats self penned epitaph .Our final stop on our way back to the hotel was Mullaghmore ,a small fishing village .The sandy beach stretches as far as the eye can see and it's an ideal spot for swimming ,but unfortunately the weather was wet and miserable and our stay was short  

 Day 3 Our first stop was Tobernault  Holy Well .Tobernault one of a number of Holy Wells  throughout Ireland ,is situated in a remote and peaceful location surrounded by woodland and adjacent to the Shores of Lough Gill a few miles South East of Sligo town where rather   surprisingly  a number of people regularly go to pray . We continued on to Lough Gill where we had a guided tour on board the Rose of Innisfree Tour Boat .  W .B.Yeats got his inspiration for the poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"here .The weather was bright and sunny ,some of us sat on top deck while others sat-out on front deck or had a cuppa on board .Our next stop was Lisadell House home of the Gore Booth Family ,resident landowners in the late 18th century and later Constance Markievrz daughter of Henry Gore Booth .We got a guided tour of the house .....Constance (Cassidy) and Eddie Walshe together with their seven children are now resident there  

Day4 Shopping in Sligo town ,some shopped ,others were glad of the freedom to do what they liked . 
It was a very relaxed break .Our start each morning was at eleven ,we got up had breakfast at our leisure and strolled down to the coach went on our outing and arrived back at the hotel between 4 30 and 5 pm . We had time to chill out before getting ready for Dinner at 7pm. We had music ,song and dance on Monday and Wednesday night in the hotel  

Day 5 It was our last day ,we were sad leaving the Glass House Hotel ,the staff was kind and caring ,food was excellent but our trip wasn't over yet .We visited Our Lady of Knock Shrine on our way home ,we attended Mass and had lunch .We arrived back in Ballinasloe at 4pm. We would like to thank Maura ,Deirdre and the Social committee for organising a wonderful break .

Regards   Anne  Duffy.
Well done Anne,  Photos to follow,         Doug.


Thanks Deirdre Hogan for photos.

Knitters Group 2017 with Chernobyl Chlidren

Our Knitting Circle

The Active Retirement Knitting Circle was founded by Margaret McDonnell. Margaret’s vision, enthusiasm and caring disposition has inspired the rest of the group to take up the challenge and knit for people in need. So knitting for an orphanage in Belarus seemed like the perfect choice.

We have knitted many blankets, hats, scarves and soft toys over the years for this very worthy and needy orphanage. Pat Dillon from outside Ballinasloe is the wonderful person who organises the holidays for the orphans and arranges for them to stay with host families. It’s always a great privilege to have the orphans visit us, together with their carer and translator.

We celebrated our 10th Anniversary on July 10th with a visit this year once again from our Belarus friends. The children enjoyed the party and Margaret presented their translator with our knitted items.

The knitting circle meets every Monday morning from 10.30 to 12 noon in Gullane's Hotel. Tomás Gullane has been a tremendous help during the last 10 years. We chat and knit and drink coffee. We continue knitting at home during the long winter nights and get our friends involved too. We realise the personal value of this pastime also. It is a very relaxing time. We make good friends and become good listeners.

All are welcome in the Knitting Circle.

Bridie Loughman

Photos  from Jackie of     J & J  Photography       Society  Street.
Report from Chris O'Flynn  P.R.O.

Our B.A.R.A. Knitting Group

If you strolled into the Library in Gullane’s Hotel any Monday morning at 10.30, you would be surprised to see 20 or so ladies busily knitting away surrounded by bags of fabulous multi-coloured balls of wool. Above the clicking of knitting needles there is a great sense of camaraderie while the group chat ,laugh, compare knitting patterns, and enjoy a tea break.

This group of dedicated women get together for a deserving cause. The fruits of their endeavours can be seen in the beautiful display of blankets, hats, scarves and soft toys which are presented annually to an orphanage in Belarus. Pat Dillon from Aughrim, who organises holidays in Ireland for the orphans and arranges for them to stay with their hosts, recently visited the knitters in Gullane’s Hotel . The children were thrilled to receive bags of the most beautiful knitted garments and happily posed for photos.

Retirement for many, especially for those who live alone, can create a huge void in one’s life. This knitting group is an example of one way this void can be filled. You can renew old skills, acquire new skills, cultivate social contacts, make new friends and enjoy life.

Thanks to Margaret McDonnell who founded the group with the aim of “getting people out of the house” Well done Margaret.!

The group meets every Monday morning 10.30 – 12 noon in Gullane’s Hotel. Take down those knitting needles and join the group. If interested,contact Bridie Loughman Ph.085 8887038

By Chris O’Flynn    P.R.O.   July 2017

Our outing to Boura Bog/Tullamore Dew/Kinnitty Castle

Our day trips continue to be the most popular dates on the Social Calendar. Our day trip on Wed.5th July ’17 proved to be yet another enjoyable outing.

We started our journey in Boura Bog and enjoyed a lovely walk under blue skies and brilliant sunshine. We re-visited our youthful days with a stroll through the fairy wood and many made a wish for God only knows what as they sat on the wishing tree.

We continued on then to Tullamore where we had a guided tour of the Distilllery, followed by a delightful taste of their lovely whiskey. Allowing us to bring the glass was a nice momentum.

We finished up the evening with a delightful meal in the Banqueting Hall in Kinnitty Castle.

It was a lovely day out enjoyed by all.

Chris O’Flynn (P.R.O)


Spring Break 2017

Our Spring Break to Kenmare – 7th – 11th May 2017

On Sunday. May 7th 63 members of our Active Retirement group set off excitedly on the first leg of our journey to Kenmare for our annual 5 day Spring break.

We were based in the lovely Kenmare Bay Hotel and enjoyed brilliant sunshine and blue skies for the duration of our visit.

Our first day’s tour took us through beautiful scenic Glengarriff, which sits in the shelter of Bantry Bay, on to Mizen Head, the most south westerly point of the Iveragh Peninsula. It was the most exilerating experience with its arched bridge, the 99 steps and paths and fabulous views of Dunlough Bay, Signal Station and Fastnet Rock. Fastnet was known as Ireland’s Teardrop as it was the last part of Ireland seen by thousands of Irish Emigrants as they sailed away to the New World, most of them never to return again.

The mountainous Beara peninsula with its stunning coastal scenery was on the agenda for Day 2. Our first stop was in the major fishing port of Castletownbere with the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Hungry Hill as a backdrop. After a delicious tea/coffee/scones/apple pie,custard,cream,strawberry/ break in the Beara Coast Hotel, we continued on our journey to Allihies passing through the brightly painted, picturesque villages of Eyeries and Ardgroom. Unfortunately, time didn’t allow any of us to take the cable car to Dursey Island. The return journey took us to Adrigole via the Healy Pass which winds its way through the Caha Mountains, the backbone of the Beara Peninsula. We literally held our breath as we squeezed our way through the narrow tunnels. Well done to our driver Michael, who manoeuvred this extra large coach through these tunnels for the very first time. On the way back we had the unique experience of visiting the Buddhist temple at Dzogchen Beara built in the style of a traditional Tibetan monastery with its floor to ceiling windows and spectacular ocean views.

On day 3, we headed for Caherdaniel on the Ring of Kerry and had an interesting tour of Derrynane House, ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell. It is situated on 120 hectares of parklands on the scenic Kerry coast. Derrynane was notorious as a port for smugglers in the 18th century

As we boarded our bus for home, we were sad to leave this scenic part of the country. There wasn’t a hill or mountain in sight as we approached Ballinasloe. Even though we were very tired, we all agreed that the fun, comraderie and nice meals all helped to make this a wonderful and enjoyable trip. Thanks to Phil and Bridie for all the organising.

Chris O’Flynn P.R.O