Active Retirement Ireland Celebrates European Year for Active Ageing

May 24, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Walking canes await elderly shoppers at a specialist retail store catering to senior citizens, March 23, 2006 in Grossraeschen, Germany.
Walking canes await elderly shoppers at a specialist retail store catering to senior citizens, March 23, 2006 in Grossraeschen, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The benefits of active ageing were highlighted on Wednesday in eight regions around the country, as Active Retirement Ireland held a day of celebrations for the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations.

Designated by the European Commission, the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations.

With events taking place in Dublin, Westmeath, Limerick, Galway, Kerry, Waterford, Louth and Sligo, the importance of young and old helping each other in today’s society was highlighted. The day’s activities were supported by Active Retirement Ireland (ARI), the national representative body for 539 Active Retirement Associations throughout the country.

Commenting on the festivities, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland Ms Maureen Kavanagh said: “Our special day of celebrations highlights the significance of strengthening ties among people of all ages in society. The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations is a fantastic initiative that Active Retirement Ireland fully supports.”

“With increasing uncertainty in the Irish economy, it’s important that everyone pulls together and combines their talents and skills to get the country back on its feet. Solidarity between generations is exactly what this is about, and our events today show what can be achieved when young and old come together.”

Among the highlights of the day were:

Dublin

The ballroom of the historic Wynn’s Hotel on Lower Abbey Street was the setting for a day of cultural events and activities. Chris Binchy, the Writer in Residence at Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, was on hand to launch a specially-published collection of short stories and poems, written by members of the Dun Laoghaire and Foxrock Active Retirement Associations.

Leading Irish writer John Connolly also gave a talk to those in attendance. The best-selling author of crime thriller novels shared some nuggets of wisdom to aspiring writers while regaling guests with stories from his illustrious career. The talk was followed by an open forum with a fun quiz. The day finished up with music and dancing in the ballroom.

Newly-elected President of Active Retirement Ireland, Mai Quaid, also spoke at the event, which was organised by the Eastern Region of ARI.

Westmeath

Members of the Active Retired community in the Midlands region were encouraged to get active at the Bloomfield House Hotel in Mullingar. The Go For Life PALs – Physical Activity Leaders – held a workshop with ARA members, helping them to get exercising for a healthy mind and body. In the spirit of solidarity between generations, pupils from St Cremin’s National School, Mullingar, and Wilson’s Hospital Secondary School, Multyfarnham, joined in the workout session.

Westmeath Sports Partnership also gave a demonstration in the increasingly popular game of Boccia, which sees players play a sitting-down version of bowling with leather balls, in a game particularly suitable for arthritis sufferers. The hotel ballroom was the venue for an exhibition of arts and crafts and a mini trade fair. Artist Mary Weir held a watercolour painting workshop, while the local ‘Three 9s’ emergency care ambulance service held CPR demonstrations and showed ARA members how to use a mini-defibrillator in case of emergency.

CEO of Active Retirement Ireland, Maureen Kavanagh, was the guest speaker at the event.

Limerick

The famous Thomond Park was the venue for a day of physical, cultural and social activities, organised by the Mid-Western region of ARI. Kicking off festivities was a children’s choir from nearby Our Lady Queen of Peace primary school in Limerick, while All-Ireland champion ballad singer Nora Butler complemented the entertainment.

Exhibits, arts and crafts were held throughout the day, while stalls highlighted alternative therapies such as aromatherapy, reflexology and Reiki. Special guest speakers included Deputy Mayor of Limerick Joe Leddin, Mayor of Clare Pat Hayes and Mayor of North Tipperary Michéal Lowry. Student Orla Bredin, of Colaiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare, also showcased her project on Active Ageing and making Ennis an age-friendly town.

Galway

Beginning at Seapoint in Salthill at lunchtime, active retirees walked the prom as part of a traditional charity activity and ‘kicked the wall’ for luck! They then headed for the Galway Bay Hotel for food and entertainment with intergenerational choir ‘Living Scenes’.

All were encouraged to join in the entertainment, which included music and dance with students from the local Presentation Secondary School, Gael Scoil Mhic Amhlaidh, and Claregalway National School. There were stories and songs to keep all generations entertained.