An Scioból Men’s Shed was set up in 2015. Shed chair Liam Ó Gogain explains that he thinks the shed was set up in “recognition of the isolation faced by members of the community and it’s rural nature”. West Donegal is sparsely populated and many men would have a connection with the land. The shed has approximately 20 regular members ranging in age from 20 right up to 60 years. Liam believes it takes a lot of courage for someone to walk into a strange place. The members are encouraged to sit down and talk among themselves. There is a rich tradition in the area of playing the card game 25 and it has been a firm favourite among the members. They also have a Meitheal Ceol group which is great therapy as the hours fly by. The shed is located in a massive warehouse and Liam has a hunch that they might have the biggest shed in Ireland. Members pulled together their various skills to make the shed comfortable for everyone. The principles of the shed are based on collaboration and co-operation working together and building solutions themselves. Shed members are very handy and have completed numerous projects including fixing problems with a rocking chair, up cycling and refurbishing tractors. The members also teach the Women’s shed woodwork skills and they hope to obtain funding to transfer the historical skillset in boat building to younger generations. The shed is a community resource and is located “up from Josey Barney’s” in an Screabán Estate, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal. It is open Monday and Thursday evenings from 7pm to 10pm and all are welcome to join.
Sheds move online
With the temporary closure of men’s sheds across Ireland, some men’s sheds have moved online to continue to connect with one another, finding new and innovative ways to interact. One such shed is the An Scioból Men’s Shed, based in County Donegal. Liam O’Gogain, a member of An Scioból Men’s Shed in Donegal has gone a step further than WhatsApp and is currently hosting Facebook Live music sessions.
Liam and a number of others perform under the banner of ‘Meitheal Ceol’ which he describes as a movement of such. The group, before the virus hit, was meeting every Wednesday in the men’s shed in Gweedore. Having done livestreaming before, Liam explains that the group needed move totally online to help people deal with isolation. “We know what social isolation is like, because we live in the middle of nowhere and we’d be aware of the social isolation that will emerge from this crisis”. With two song books of over 500 songs, Liam and the Meitheal live streams every night from 7pm – 8pm and is asking shedders and others to join them.
For some shedders, messaging platforms like WhatsApp or social media may be out of reach for them, due to the technology or internet in their local area. The Irish Men’s Sheds Association continues to operate normally and provide support and advice to shedders on 01 891 6150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.