BY EMMA CONNOLLY
AN autism-friendly lunch will be served in Liss Ard Estate near Skibbereen later this month, designed entirely to cater to the needs of youngsters who live with the condition.
The lunch is exclusively for autistic students of St Patrick’s Boys NS, Skibbereen, their families and siblings, and will also raise funds for the unit they attend.
Estate general manager Aidan Shannon explained how they came up with the idea as they ‘wanted to give something back to the community.’
Aidan and his chefs and other staff members will give their time for free at the event on Saturday, September 29th, donating their wages to the school’s autism unit.
They will also host a fundraising dinner at 6pm the following day, Sunday 30th, which is open to the public and where, Aidan explains, diners can ‘pay what they think the six course tasting menu, with wine, is worth.’
He said: We’ve had meetings with the students and we’ll create the menu with them. In fact we’ll be serving each youngster’s favourite.’
He continued: ‘We’ve asked ourselves “how do we make this a great dining experience for people with autism and their families?” With that in mind we’ll be closed to the public; will keep music and lights low and calm; have waiting staff in the background and serve food on platters if guests need to move from table to table.’
So far 20 of the 60 tickets have been sold for Sunday’s dinner.
St Patrick’s NS principal Alan Foley said the lunch alone was an ‘incredible gesture’ for the students and families.
‘We have three autism classes with 14 students currently. One pre school class for those aged three to five; one for those aged five to nine; and a third for nine to 12 year olds.’ For ticket information contact Liss Ard Estate on 028 40000.