Meet Eddie Hogan – Tinahely Men’s Sheds
For our second feature of ‘Shed Stories,’ we interviewed Tinahely Men’s Shed member, Eddie Hogan (86). We asked Eddie about his personal experience with being involved with the Sheds, how he’s finding the Sheds for Life Programme, as well as his amazing feat of walking up the four highest peaks in Ireland and Britain.
When asked how he got involved with the Sheds, Eddie explained that he has been involved with the Tinahely Men’s Shed since its inception, over 8 years ago. However, Eddie described how the loss of his wife and daughter left a huge void in his life. But the Sheds enabled him to find routine and meaning during a very difficult time.
“It was lack of experience of being without my wife. That’s what got me into the men’s sheds. I had somewhere to go and I enjoyed every minute of it, every time I went down there. It gave me great help when I was mourning my wife’s death. Particularly then, and again, when my eldest daughter went. I found it very, very hard and Men’s Shed saved me and brought me back to earth. The Men’s Shed took me out of the depths and put me back on track. There’s nothing much more I can say about that, but that they played a part when I was down.”
When asked how COVID, and the closure of the Shed impacted him, Eddie explained
“I’m a keyholder of the shed, so I used to go down on my own anytime. But, in the early days of the pandemic, we closed up. If men wanted to go in or had a bit of work to do, we had to go in singly. I used to do that, and I found great comfort in it.”
Similar to other members across the country, when the Shed doors reopened, it brought great relief to Eddie as he explained that there was no better feeling. He also mentioned that they have a busy couple of weeks ahead of them with the Tinahely Agricultural Show taking place in August, which everyone is welcome to attend.
“They haven’t even invented a word to describe how excited we were to get back into the sheds and be together again… The village, in Tinahely, has a major show coming up. It’s an annual show but hasn’t been able to be put on for the past couple years. The Men’s Shed usually has a stall at it… We are going to get our things together, make up bird boxes and flower boxes and all types of things to bring to the show. So, these are exciting times at the moment at the Men’s Shed. For myself, I’m really looking forward to it.”
While chatting to Eddie, he mentioned his love for hiking. After taking up walking at a young age with his friends and family, Eddie has tackled a number of big mountains in the British Isles including, Scafell Pike – England, Ben Nevis – Scotland, Snowdon – Wales, Carrauntoohil – Kerry, and his most recent venture, Croagh Patrick – Mayo in April, 2022. When asked what his secret is, Eddie explained.
“I’m walking every day, but on Sundays, I’m into the hills at about 10 o’clock and stay to do loop walks as they are called, where you are doing a circle back around. It’s called the Mangan’s loops, which has a great bit of walking and I really enjoy that…I am in reasonably good shape for my age. And I think I get it because I have never smoked in my entire life and I have never drank. I have yet to taste alcohol in my life. So, I suppose these things have helped me a bit along the way, you know.”
Over the last 7 weeks, Tinahely has been actively taking part in the 10-week Sheds for Life programme. When asked what he thought about it, Eddie said
“It is absolutely fantastic. We are just three or four sessions into the cookery and food end of it, and I was just telling my daughter all about what we learned today. It’s once a week and it’s absolutely magic to hear people talk about baking, all of the ingredients, and exercise. We have another teacher who comes earlier than the cookery section who gives us the run through on physical exercise. I don’t have any problem with it, so I enjoy that more. So it’s really, really, really good.”
When asked if he had anything else to add to his story, Eddie’s daughter, Paula, who joined him on his interview wanted to mention the positive impact that the Men’s Sheds has had on him and his daily life.
“The shed keeps him going throughout the years having lost a daughter and a wife. If he wasn’t involved in it, he would be at home basically on his own, so men’s sheds is everything to him. You know, I’m just saying these words because I know that’s how he feels. It’s keeping him going, it’s keeping him alive, and it gives him a purpose to get up everyday and do something as opposed to just listening to the radio on his own everyday.”
Thank you to Eddie for taking the time to tell your ‘Shed Story’.
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