Passage Men’s Shed: A Fantastic Amenity
Writes Leo McMahon
‘This is a great day for Passage West and a fantastic addition to the community’, said Cork County Mayor Seamus McGrath when performing the official opening of the Men’s Shed in part of Fr Gerard Collins Parish Centre last Saturday, February 25th.
As a person who grew up in Passage and attended what used to be part of the boys’ school, Cllr McGrath said it was a particular honour to officiate.
‘The concept of the Men’s Shed, which began in Australia in the ‘nineties and then spread to Europe and became very popular in Ireland, is an excellent one. It involves having a cup of tea, a chat, relaxing and the chance to engage in some activities. Many of us realise that men are not always the best at socialising, except perhaps in the pub, and it’s important that there is something to combat isolation and loneliness.’
The mayor said there had been great improvements in Passage West in recent years including the railway walk and cycle way, Marmullane Park and the new primary school, but there remained challenges such as tackling dereliction and the council was focused on this.
Passage West had great potential and possessed a fantastic community spirit with fine clubs epitomised by Jim Murphy, a trojan community worker with his daughter Angela, most notably in spearheading the proposed museum in the former Town Hall which he hoped, would link up with other amenities in the harbour and attract more visitors to the town by road and water.
The mayor, who was accompanied by his mother Marie and his daughter Jenna, was presented by Val Clyne and William Walty Murphy with a lamp wood-turned at the shed.
The Men’s Shed was blessed by retired parish priest Fr John Galvin. He was accompanied by Fr Sean O’Sullivan PP and Fr Con Cronin Sps.
The large attendance was welcomed at the outset by chairman Jim Murphy who thanked the mayor and fellow councillors in attendance: Marcia D’Alton, Deirdre Forde, Eoghan Jeffers, Mary Rose Desmond and Joe Harris and his brother Michael Frick Murphy, the latter of whom painted the premises.
He also thanked Fr Sean O’Sullivan, PP and the Parish Council who were very generous in making part of the centre available; the ladies for the catering on the day, and acknowledged the support of donors and sponsors of paint, timber, tools etc. as well as fellow shed members and friends from Carrigaline, Blarney, Ballincollig and other sheds.
‘What do we do in the Men’s Shed? ‘Well, the daughter of one of our members,’ said Jim, ‘summed it up as being like a youth club for old fellas!’
‘Future plans’, said Jim, ‘include a grow-it-yourself polytunnel, visiting other men’s sheds and ‘going overseas to Spike Island!’ Most important of all, we have long tea breaks where the camaraderie and craic is great.’
On behalf of Carrigaline Men’s Shed, Barry Cogan said ‘good luck’ by presenting to Jim Murphy a wooden crest featuring a horseshoe designed by Aidan Winters.
It was following an idea mooted at the Parish Council that one of its members Frank Clarke, visited the shed at Carrigaline. A public meeting in Passage West last June was poorly attended but when the premises became available, it went from strength to strength and it now has over 20 members who meet every Tuesday from 10.30am to 1pm, always starting off with tea.
Officers are Jim Murphy, chairman; Peter McManamon, secretary; and Denis O’Byrne, treasurer. New faces are most welcome and there’s no pressure to do anything, just relax. To find out more, phone 021 4841471, log on to http://www.menssheds.ie or just come along on a Tuesday.
The speeches over, Cllr McGrath cut the tape, lone piper Norman O’Rourke gave a recital and visitors were given a tour of the facility, which opened last autumn and also features interesting old photographs of the locality, and enjoyed excellent fare. Guests included Donnchadh O Laoghaire TD and former Passage councillors Joe Snow and John Daly.