Dysart men launch 10th anniversary book



The importance of the Dysart Rural Men’s Group was plain to see at the launch of the group’s book ‘Dysart Rural Men’s Group – Celebrating Ten Years’ at Dysart Community Centre.

  Group members, James Mooney and Denis Connolly, told the large turnout, which included local public representatives and other invited guests – including the men’s groups from Ballaghaderreen and Drumboylan – about the positive effect the group has had on their lives.

  After being introduced by MC Gerry Fallon, Mr. Mooney, who has been part of the group for seven years, described how the group had even helped him as he overcame illness.

  “When I came to the group I wasn’t very well, I had a long  illness. It’s boosted me…it was the one thing that stood to me and I made a  great  recovery for myself”.

  He also highlighted the important social element and the work of Roscommon LEADER Partnership coordinator, Noel Hoare, in inviting speakers to come and talk to the group at the community centre each Tuesday.

  “It was very important for me to meet men, talk to men, converse with men. Every day Noel would have someone coming in. We had great craic and banter and we have people in the club from Galway and when Roscommon play Galway we have great craic! We’ve had talks from the Fire Brigade and the Gardaí and many, many more,” he said.

  James read Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘Thank You, Thank You’ but not before telling those present of a curious dream he recently had.

  “I was brought forward 200 years to 2217. I saw this young lad coming down steps and I didn’t know who he was. I said hi to him and he said ‘Hi’ and the minute he opened his mouth I knew he was American.

  “I said ‘Who are you?’ ‘I’m from Yale University’ he said, ‘I’m doing my thesis and It’s about rural Ireland’. ‘My great great grandfather came from Dysart.’

  “I said ‘You’ve a book there in your hand’. He said: ‘That’s the book, the Dysart Rural Men’s Group book’. He pointed at a man on the book and said ‘That’s my great great grandfather, he was born in Dysart’.

  “I said ‘What’s his name? What’s his name?’ And then I got this elbow ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ It was my wife. ‘You’re having a horrible dream!’

  “I said: ‘I’m not…I’m having a lovely dream and I never found out who it was, you woke me up!’”

  Fellow member Denis Connolly, a farmer and former publican, also paid tribute to coordinator Noel Hoare, who he described as a “gentleman, sincere, honest and upright”, for the work he has done in facilitating the men’s group in Dysart.

  NUIG academic, Dr. Phil Noone, who wrote the foreword for the book, said she was “honoured to be part of this amazing project” before describing the book as a “housing of memories”.

  “This book can travel…to wherever Irish people live and it will be held with great pride and read  with a great sense of connection to the homeland. So you have done an amazing job gentlemen and I’m only proud to be part of it,” she said.

  Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Orla Leyden, officially launched the book which she described as “a treasure” before pausing to remember former group member, Thomas Gilligan, who had recently passed away as well as local man Brian Finneran, whose mother Lily is part of the Dysart Community Centre kitchen staff who were honoured on the night.

  Coordinator Noel Hoare, who was widely praised for his work with the group on the night, offered heartfelt thanks to the group’s supporters, including Roscommon County Council, LEADER, GRETB, as well as the HSE and sponsors.

  “To me, what makes it a success is an awful lot of people working together….when I say that I’m on about the men themselves especially and the local committee that we have”.

  Anthony Dockery of Roscommon LEADER Partnership encouraged support for the group before highlighting its main aims.

  “In three or four words…the purpose of the establishment of the men’s group is to provide a social outlet for rural men. It’s for no other reason. It’s not a curing project, it’s a prevention project. It replaces what was lost in rural communities – the rambling house”.

  Mr. Dockery added that the group had provided the men with mental and physical well-being as well as a platform for information. He added that “pound for pound the greatest of all” benefit was the group’s contribution to “independent living for longer”.

  ‘Dysart Rural Men’s Group – Celebrating Ten Years’ is available to buy from Maureen’s Shop, Ballyforan; Dysart Stores; Menton’s Post Office, Curraghboy; Tavanagh Meats, Brideswell and Centra, Athleague, at a cost of €15. All proceeds will go towards keeping Dysart Rural Men’s Group open.