By Helen Riddell
An Active retirement group in Ardgroom on Beara is certainly living up to the group’s name and proving that age is no barrier to being active.
The 40-strong group, which was set up three years ago, is busy doing everything from digital photography and basketry to making window boxes and studying genealogy. The members also find time to help those older than themselves by hosting a Christmas lunch for the more senior citizens in the parish.
The group meets every Thursday from 11am to 1pm in the Caha Centre in Ardgroom, and as well as classes in various crafts, the group also holds film mornings and recently started conversational Irish during tea breaks. Always keen to encourage their members to keep active, the group has also taken to meeting up just ahead of the weekly get-together to go for a walk around the village. The group’s PRO Regina O’Shea says that everyone can walk at their own pace: ‘The walk is completely optional and there’s no pressure on anyone.’
The Ardgroom group undertakes fundraising to subsidise outings, which recently included a Valentine’s Day lunch in the Beara Coast Hotel,.
Regina said: ‘We had a great day out. We encouraged everyone to wear something pink or red, and everyone did, even our male group members! Other outings over the past year have included a trip to Rossmore’s theatre, and to Bloom in Dublin.’
They also paid a visit to Bere Island to meet up with the island’s active retirement group. Paul Arbuckle, the group’s chairperson, said: ‘We enjoyed a great visit to the island. The nicest part was that both groups commented on how they knew each other by sight but not by name, and now when our group and the island group see each other in Castletownbere, they can stop and have a chat.’
The group is very much involved in the upkeep of Ardgroom and puts on the annual Easter flower display in the local church, along with painting, and planting flower barrels and window boxes throughout the village.
The members are also busy filling up their schedule for the coming weeks which includes a visit from the community garda in Bantry who will give a talk on security and theft prevention, a willow-making class and one of their members, Mick Brennan, is hoping to start work on a scale model of Ardgroom village.
Regina added: Age is no barrier - you just need to be young at heart. Our promise is that we will keep you active!’