Glenilen is preserving stories from our elderly community

October 18th, 2019 8:15 PM

By Southern Star Team

Glenilen Farm co-founders Alan and Valerie Kingston want to preserve the stories of West Cork's older residents and have teamed up with charity Alone in order to do so.

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Alan and Valerie Kingston of Glenilen are working with charity Alone in a heart-warming ad campaign which emphasises how everyone in our society deserves time to tell their story

By Emma Connolly


GLENILEN Farm in Drimoleague has taken part in a heart-warming campaign which encourages young people to engage with older members of their community. 

Alan and Valerie Kingston have partnered with Alone, a charity which supports older people to age at home.

In a series of online videos, the campaign encourages younger people to ‘Ask a Few Simple Questions’ of the elderly. 

The videos show six-year-old  Julie Galvin, from Mallow chatting to some older members of the West Cork community, and asking them a few simple questions about what their life was like growing up in rural Ireland. 

They include Sean O’Brien from Drimoleague, Donal O’Donovan from Leap and Betty Levis from Durrus. 

In the short video, Sean tells Julie how he was born in Drimoleague in 1924 in the house where he still lives. 

He set up a butchers’ shop on the village’s main street with his friend and business partner Paddy McCarthy. 

The shop closed after more than 36 years of trading, in 1992. 

Betty, who is 95 now, worked as a farmhand in Ilen Farm in Skibbereen. 

She tells Julie in the video how she rose at 6am every morning to milk eight cows. When asked the best thing about being 95, she tells Julie that it’s having a visit from her! 

Donal, who was born in Leap in 1944 worked in Drinagh Co-op until 2009. He tells Julie how things were done differently decades ago in the agricultural sector. 

The objective of the campaign is to emphasise how every member of our society deserves the time and space to tell their own personal story, which is a basic human requirement. 

The videos can be seen on Facebook and Youtube. 

‘We are delighted to partner with Alone on this project, and indeed going forward,’ said Alan Kingston of Glenilen Farm in Drimoleague. ‘Alone is a charity we have long admired and felt an alignment to. We want to help them in whatever capacity we can to spread awareness of the services they offer and the important work that they do.’

He added: ‘We realised that the staple of our day-to-day work on the farm is to preserve milk to make dairy products like yoghurt, butter and milk, and that’s the story of Glenilen Farm. But we also want to work on preserving something even more important, the stories of older members of our community.’

Alan said that these stories ‘form the threads of the fabric of our community and of our homes, and every community has this, and it’s unique and distinct to its own locale and people.’

Seán Moynihan, chief executive of Alone added: ‘In Ireland, 60% of older people aged 80 and over live alone. Together, we need to build a community infrastructure that changes the tide of ageing in Ireland and gives people the supports they need to age happily in their own homes.’


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