The Shed Series has been a fixture in the men’s sheds calendar since 2016. Fondly anticipated by sheds throughout the country, the series offers every shed in Ireland a chance to display its craftmanship on the national stage.
This year, the Shed Series was hosted at the magnificent Belvedere House and Gardens in Mullingar, and run in conjunction with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association’s partner organization Topline DIY. Topline’s generous sponsorship saw three sheds walk away with handsome cash prizes, in addition to the Topline vouchers awarded to each shortlisted shed.
But while the competitive element added spice to the series, the event was a celebration of the creativity and camaraderie which exemplifies men’s sheds. In total, 44 sheds from 23 counties were shortlisted.
Killbeggan Men’s Shed produced an educational replica of the town’s distillery water wheel, complete with rotating wheel; St. Catherine’s Men’s Shed’s entry paid tribute to its members’ Traveller culture with a stunning equine portrait; Macroom Men’s Shed’s contributed a detailed model of their own shed which featured a working water-pump; Glin Men’s Shed produced a thatched cottage drawn from the history and heritage of the Co. Limerick village.
Ultimately, however, only one shed could clinch the overall prize of €2,000, and that honour went to Rostrevor Men’s Shed of Co. Down. The winning entry was centred around a handsomely mounted map of Ireland, carved in four different types of wood. The shed has a notably cosmopolitan membership, and a fleet of miniature airplanes denoted their journeys from points as distant as Denmark and Iran.
Eamon O’Connor of Rostrevor Men’s Shed was stunned to win first prize: “When we were putting it together, I did think, ‘wow, this is pretty good’. But when I got here today and saw the standard of some of the other entries, I thought we’d no chance! I’m absolutely delighted”.
Topline ambassador and Ireland rugby legend Donncha O’Callaghan led a discerning panel of judges, alongside Irish Country Living editor Mairéad Lavery and Éadaoin Keane of Topline.
Second prize went to Shed Series veterans Cooley Peninsula Men’s Shed, winners of the overall prize in 2016. Their beautifully rendered piece interpreted the men’s shed as a rescue helicopter lifting men clear of life’s dangers and pitfalls. Their success made it a double for Carlingford Lough; Rostrevor and Cooley are located on opposite sides of the lake which demarcates the Irish border.
Meanwhile, the People’s Choice award, chosen via a public poll on Topline’s Facebook page, went to Killoe Men’s Shed of Co. Longford. Killoe’s entry, an attractive frame filled with vignettes of shed life, garnered a remarkable 1,400 “likes”. In total, almost 10,000 votes were cast, with sheds throughout the country mobilising support from their communities.
Eadaoin Keane, Head of Marketing at Topline said; “Since the launch of the partnership, I’ve been hugely impressed by the skills, craftmanship and creativity of Irish sheds and their members. This competition has really put those skills to the test, but it’s also been moving, meaningful and, above all, fun”.
Barry Sheridan from Irish Men’s Sheds said of the Shed Series competition; “This has been a massive highlight of the year to date. We take every opportunity we can to bring sheds together at a national level, and this event, with its focus on creativity and community, is as good as it gets. The creativity on show speaks for itself, and we’re delighted that Topline are helping us give it the spotlight it deserves”.
The Irish Heart Foundation and Get Ireland Walking also lent their support on another memorable day for Ireland’s sheds.