Carndonagh Men’s Shed relaunch
The landscape may be rough and rugged, but the people of Donegal are among the most warm and welcoming in Ireland. Unsurprisingly, the roster of men’s sheds in Donegal is a long and illustrious one, with almost 25 men’s sheds on the county’s books.
Some sheds thrive from the outset, riding a wave of community support; others are slow-burners, taking time to overcome challenges and truly hit their stride.
Men’s Shed Carn falls somewhere in between. Based in Carndonagh, the shed was launched in 2012, and swiftly won rave reviews for its achievements in buttressing a community rocked by the economic crash. The shed won the support of the Inishowen Development Partnership, Inishowen Co-Op and the local ETB.
In recent years, however, the shed has become something of a victim of its own success. As the economy staged a tentative recovery, members used the skills, confidence and self-belief gained at the shed to move back into full-time employment.
As a result of diminished numbers, the shed is embarking on a full-scale, meticulously planned relaunch. On Thursday September 26, an Open Night will take place at the shed’s Old Co-op premises on Moville Road, running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Conor Doherty, Chairperson of Men’s Shed Carn project says: “This project has been a fantastic initiative aimed at helping tackle social isolation and promote the health and wellbeing of local men – in particular in the years following the recession and economic downturn when employment was scarce or non-existent”.
However, Conor believes recent developments locally demand a rethink about how the shed operates: “Whilst unemployment was rife in 2012 when our project began”, he says, “in more recent years we have seen an upturn in the economy with many of our members finding employment or moving elsewhere. Though we are delighted with this success for individual members, it has meant that the number of members has reduced, and we are now keen to reinvigorate the shed and do all that we can to attract new and former members”.
The shed has always prided itself on its inclusive nature, and has opened its doors to members of Carndonagh’s new Syrian community. While numbers may be down somewhat, the shed’s litany of projects and activities is deeply impressive.
Shed treasurer Davy ‘Bill’ McLaughlin attests eagerly to this: “I’ve been a member of the shed since 2013 and have found all of the courses and projects I’ve been involved in very interesting – whether it has been furniture restoration, renovating the 1860s pony trap or building our boat – The Curragh”.
Conor Doherty says the shed is open to all, catering to all age-groups, genders and interests: “It is important to highlight that the shed is not just for people who want to want to make things – but offers a whole lot more”.
Conor is calling on men and women, young and old, from the wider Carndonagh area to attend the Open Night, where they can find a wealth of information about the shed and contribute their own ideas and visions for its future.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Davy ‘Bill’ McLaughlin: “There’s no better way to spend an evening if there’s an activity, course or project on in the Shed – particularly when it’s also helping the local community, such as making foot stools for Carn Hospital, flower baskets and benches for Tidy Towns or planters for the Barrack Hill project in conjunction with local schools and IDP.
“Without question, I’d therefore encourage other men and women to get involved.”
Men’s Shed Carn Open Night: Thursday September 26, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m at the Old Co-op, Movile Road, Carndonagh.