Kilcock Men’s Shed has one of the most diverse repertoires of any shed on the Island. As well as it’s celebrated choir the shed also hosts a very busy workshop, which churns out goodies at a rate that would put Santa’s elves to shame. The shed is also rich in the fruits of the earth, coaxing potatoes, tomatoes, onions and parsnips from a patch of Kildare soil that was once a tangle of weeds awaiting the shed’s restorative touch. It’s perhaps no surprise that Kilcock’s Community Men’s Shed has proven a magnet for eminent visitors. In October the shed threw open it’s doors for the launch of The Irish Farmers Journal’s Men’s Sheds supplement.
The trend continued in December with the arrival of Michael Ring TD, Minister for Community and Rural Development. The minister’s visit was arranged to mark the culmination of a memorable year for Men’s Sheds in Ireland with the opening of the country’s 400th shed. Speaking at the event Minister Ring was effusive in his support for the Men’s Shed concept. “When I look around here today, I see the finest of talent that would have been hidden but for the Men’s Shed. The kind of talent I can see all around me, the wooden objects, the seating – all of that would have been lost to society without the Men’s Shed. Keep up the community spirit and the good work; it’s about community, working with one another and helping one another.”
After his warmly received speech, the minister met with members of the shed committee, receiving a handsome piece of carved bog oak as a memento of his visit. Earlier the minister had toured the shed workshop and garden, showing a particular interest in the Shed’s newest adventure – colourful plaster models of motifs ancient, modern and seasonal. With the formalities over Minister Ring sat in on a performance by Kilcock Men’s Shed choir, who treated him to a rendition of their chart – topping hit The Sands of Time, followed by a moving solo – and – chorus version of White Christmas
New members are always welcome. For further information On Kilcock Community Men’s Shed, please see contacts listed or alternatively you can contact IMSA on 01 8916150
A Tale of Two Bowls
Browsing Twitter recently our eye was caught by a photo of two beautiful wooden bowls made by Kilcock Men’s Shed. We asked Liam Farrell, secretary of the shed, to tell us how they came about. This is what he told us.
‘There is something about the texture and colour of wood that gives it almost never-ending appeal. Just planting a tree is an act that brings us close to nature and, as it grows, its presence is always there to mark the changing seasons and our life’s events. Eventually, a tree will reach its final years or perhaps blow over in a storm. Our tale of two bowls began when a laburnum tree blew down in a Dublin garden but it didn’t end there as its owner wanted something tangible to remember it by and the years of enjoyment it gave.
Peter Barry delivers kiln-dried wood fuel to households in Dublin from the family woods in Co Meath near Kilcock. When delivering to a lady in South Dublin, she asked him if he knew anyone who could make a piece of laburnum into a bowl for her. Peter had seen many of the lovely wooden artifacts that his father, a member of Kilcock Men’s Shed had brought home over the years, all products of the workshop there following courses provided by the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training board. Woodturning lathes had been purchased with the help of grants from Kildare Co Council so the Kilcock members were well equipped to make the most of the training they had received.
The piece of wood was 8×5 inches and quite small and unfortunately was also cracked in the centre which made it difficult to work with. However, Peter’s father passed it on to Tony Jones, one of Kilcock Shed’s most enthusiastic and talented woodturners and he, in turn, created the two small bowls as shown below. The unusual grain of the laburnum came through perfectly, all thanks to the skill of the turner and the quality of the wood. The original owner of the tree was of course delighted with the result. It also illustrates the value of a pastime learned in the shed environment which keeps so many of us occupied during the long days of lockdown.’