The Dundalk Men's Shed
Dundalk Men’s Shed is today celebrating 10 years since they first opened their doors to the public, with shedders in high spirits as Covid-19 restrictions recede.
The shed, which was first opened in 2011, was one of the first men’s sheds in Ireland, a movement that has seen over 500 men’s sheds opened nationwide.
Gene Yore, the secretary of the shed, said that the organisation has come through the challenge of Covid-19 and that they used their time during the lockdown to refit their premises with new lighting, flooring and seating.
The organisation itself has over 50 members, with over half of those members getting back to the shed full time as restrictions on gatherings have eased.
According to Mr Yore, while the lockdown made it difficult for members of the shed to socialise, they utilised messaging and video calling through Whatsapp and Zoom to ensure members were not isolated.
“We did everything we could to prevent people from being isolated,” said Mr Yore, adding that the main ethos of the shed is to keep people from being isolated.
Mr Yore hopes that with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions completely in late October, they will be able to get back to doing things they did pre-Covid, including trips to art galleries and museums, as well as other men’s sheds.
At the celebrations this morning, a choir, made up of members of the shed performed songs for those in attendance, with a spread of refreshments for guests to enjoy.
Shedder Peter Lambe said that since he joined the Shed three years ago, he’s loved coming in to socialise with other members.
“I love meeting all the different people and socialising,” said Mr Lambe, adding that the games of pool and seeing the work some of the men have created has been excellent.
Mr Lambe said that from the moment he joined the shed, he was welcomed into the fold with open arms.
“Everyone made me feel very welcome here, each and every member makes you feel welcome.”
Chairperson of Dundalk Men’s Shed, Peter O’Neill, said that part of the reason the shed has been so successful is the work of the committee and that they’ve given him great help since he took over as chairman.
While getting everyone back after the lockdowns has been a “slow process” according to Mr O’Neill, the shed is “beginning to pull through now”.
“The committee is delighted to have such great support from the members over the years. We couldn’t do it without them,” said Mr O’Neill.
He said that the celebrations had gone well and that there was a good showing, with plenty of people from outside the shed making an appearance, leading to hopes of new members.
For Brian Byrne, the treasurer of Dundalk Men’s Shed, the lockdown was tough on the financial side, but that the group have managed to pull through.
The organisation use their pop-up shop in the Long Walk Shopping Centre to sell some of their handcrafted items that are made in-house in their workshop, but Mr Byrne said that they were not a business set up to make money.
“We are managing it quite well at the moment,” said Mr Byrne on the finances of the Shed.
Overall, Mr O’Neill described the Shed as a “team effort” and that the members really do put in the dedication to ensure that it works for everyone.
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