It’s great to be back

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the global population with a sledgehammer blow that no-one foresaw or could have foreseen. Overnight our lives were changed utterly, and in mid-march 2020 we underwent a ‘lockdown’. Overnight, our shed was closed indefinitely, and in an effort to stay connected – like the rest of the world – we resorted to virtual meetings using our computers and our phones. Not everyone has been able to join using these computer/phone meetings so had phone conversations in an effort to stay in touch.
It has been a difficult few months, however, the good news is that we have re-opened our doors (in a limited fashion and observing the HSE and IMSA guidelines on social distancing, coughing etiquette and hand sanitising) again.
For the coming weeks until things stabilise further we will open on Tuesdays and Fridays only. Our workshop will remain closed until further notice, however it may be possible to work on some projects in the open air during this time if we can do it while meeting the social distancing requirements.

It is truly great to be back.

East Cork Journal 25-Jan-2019

Busy week for Midleton ‘Shedders’

Day trip to Cork
On Friday January 18th a delegation from Midleton Men’s Shed attended a very important event at the Metropole Hotel in Cork City.  Towards the end of 2018 the Irish Men’s Shed Association were awarded the European Citizen’s Prize.  Since 2008, the European Parliament awards the European Citizen’s Prize every year to projects and initiatives that facilitate cross-border cooperation or promote mutual understanding within the EU.  Previous Irish winners include the GAA in 2013 and CoderDojo in 2017.

The Men’s Shed Association was nominated for the prize by Sean Kelly MEP and Deirdre Clune MEP both of whom were in attendance.
Mr. Kelly spoke about how delighted he was to Nominate the Men’s Shed movement and how doubly delighted he was that they won the prize.
Ms. Clune also expressed her delight that the Men’s Shed movement had won this prestigious prize, and praised in the highest terms the excellent work being done in facilitating over 400 sheds across the country to get up and running.  She also expressed her hopes that funding from the Government and from Europe could be secured for individual sheds and for the National association.
Mr. Barry Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Men’s Shed Association also spoke briefly, outlining the strong growth of the Men’s Shed movement in Ireland; In 2018 alone, more than 60 new sheds were established, an average of more than one every week.
The award was then presented to Mr. Sheridan by Mr. Kelly and Ms. Clune and that concluded the formalities of the event.

We were then entertained by the choirs from the Men’s Sheds from Carrigaline and Mayfield who were in great voice and we were all encouraged to join in the singing in the spirit of involvement that is key to the Men’s Shed ethos.
At this point, having worked up a thirst from listening and singing, refreshments were served and the shedders did some of the things they do best, chatted, drank tea and had the craic.

Launch Evening at Aghada Centre Theatre Group
Later the same evening some members attended the official launch of the Theatre Group’s 2019 musical, Nanny Poppins.  Our Men’s Shed Group are hugely grateful to be one of the beneficiaries from the show, and our Chairman was called upon to say a few words.  In related big news, one of our members has been auditioned and accepted and will make his stage debut in the show March.  We are very excited for him and we are sure he will be a huge asset to the group and the show.  More about this in the coming weeks.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre, and we welcome new members.
If you would like more information you can contact us by email at:[email protected]
or have a look at our website:
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

East Cork Journal 18-Jan-2019

What to have in your Winter Driving Safety Kit

While we’ve been lucky with the settled spell of weather in recent weeks, we have seen in recent years that the coldest spells appear to come in the months of January to March. And even though we’re seeing a ‘stretch in the evenings’, it will be prudent and sensible to be prepared in advance of another ‘Beast from the and ensure that you and your car are winter-ready. As the old saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail,’ but what exactly should you stock in your car’s winter driving kit? We may not be able to predict the weather, but our checklist below should take the guesswork out of staying safe on the roads this winter.

Ice, Ice, Maybe

Ice on the roads & ice on the windscreen is most likely to be a factor early in the mornings, for this reason we recommend keeping an ice scraper and some de-icer in your car & drive to the conditions.

Save yourself a winter breakdown

Keep your Insurance cover info in your vehicle, or/member card handy. Ensure mobile phone is always charged up before trip. Keep hi-vis clothing, a torch and an emergency warning triangle in your car so that you can make yourself more visible to passing traffic if you must step out from your car.

Maybe its cold outside

For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep some warm clothes and potentially even a blanket/sleeping bag, in your car so that you can stay warm while waiting for roadside rescue team.

Food for thought

No-one likes being cold and/or hungry, so as silly as it may seem it can be a good idea to have some food in your winter emergency kit (we recommend something with a long-shelf life like a cereal bar along with a bottle or two of water to help keep you or your car hydrated depending on the circumstances. This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition which could be worsened by any significant length of time without food. We would also encourage motorists to keep a small amount of any medication that you need to take at regular intervals in the car, so that you are not left without if you find yourself stuck in your vehicle.

Fingers crossed you’ll never need to use your car’s winter safety kit, but it’s always a good idea to have one ready for the worst case scenario. While the above essentials are likely to be the most important items to include, if you still have room in your boot a small fire extinguisher, spare light bulbs, and even a first-aid kit could also be useful during the winter months. For the sake of 10 minutes and a small amount of cash, your winter kit could prove to be a life-saver.

                                           PREPARATION NOT REPARATION

East Cork Journal 11-Jan-2019

Remembering Pierce Smyth, Midleton Men’s Shed member.

It was with great sadness, that after a long, hard-fought battle with his illness, that Pierce, better known to many of us as ‘The Perce’ and by his grand-children as Pe Pe, recently passed away.

Pierce was a gentleman, kind, caring, soft, outgoing, and polite. His smile would light up a room.  He was a quiet man, and just loved being around people. He was extremely determined in everything he did, from sport, to how he battled his illness to the very end. He never gave up, and even in his final hours he fought his hardest battle with extraordinary bravery, dignity and strength.

Pierce was a loving husband to Eileen, father to Damien, David & Robert, grandad, and a true friend.

Pierce was very outgoing and loved to be sociable, and the sporting highlights of his week would be, Midleton Rugby, cards at O’Meara’s and even a game of snap with his grand-kids! Pierce liked to win at them all.

He loved going to the Men’s Shed, where he was an active member for many years, and was responsible for dragging me into joining.  Even if it was just for a coffee and a chat and the odd biscuit, he’d be there!

Pierce would be first there too, and as soon as we would arrive, he’d ask if we wanted a cuppa & a cookie, if there were any left! He did like his food!

On any other day, he’d head into town and meet up with his brother Ivor, who was always there for him, and happy to head to where they thought had the best toasted special or coffee.

Pierce worked as a salesman for Hanover for over 30 years and until he retired, and his red van was a big feature in his family and sporting life; it was regularly seen at all the rugby matches country wide, sometimes serving as taxi, and changing room, and Pierce would be there, coaching his three sons before a game, the only things missing were a toilet & fireplace.

The Perce had a really competitive spirit. We knew him whilst playing at Midleton College and thereafter for Midleton Rugby Club and anyone who experienced his tackling – round the ankles – knew they had been tackled, a skill he passed this onto his sons. A great pair of hands too.

It’s hard to believe that Pierce has passed on from us. He is now at peace.

                     Midleton Shedders will miss him. Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre, and we welcome new members.
If you would like more information you can contact us by email at:[email protected]
or have a look at our website:
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

East Cork Journal 04-Jan-2019

New year, new hopes, new beginnings.

First of all can I take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and their families and friends a happy and healthy 2019.

New year is a time when people go ‘a bit mad’ with new resolutions; give up the cigarettes, give up the drink, cut back on the coffee, cut back the sugar in the tea etc etc.  You only have to look at the adverts on the television or listen to the radio and every second one is about weight loss food supplements or nicotine patches, and while these things are all good in their own way, sometimes we might be better off to take up something new rather than trying to give up things, or better still give up something that’s negatively affecting your life or health, and take up something that will help to improve it, and it doesn’t have to be something that costs a lot of money.  Things you can take up and that will cost you nothing more than your time are as follows:
: Walking is free, and walking briskly for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week will improve your fitness, help towards a healthier heart, and may even help to dislodge those extra few pounds that arrived over the Christmas period. While there is a definite stretch in the evenings, please wear a hi-viz vest or carry a flashlight if you’re walking early in the mornings or in the evenings, it could save your life.
Reading. During 2018, the cost of library membership was removed, and since the start of this year fine for the late return of books was removed so you have no excuses for not joining your local library. Alternatively, for about €1 or €2 per book you can support local charities by buying a ‘previously loved’ book from one of the local charity shops in the area.

Volunteering.  There are many local organisations that are crying out for people to give an hour or two every week to help others in the area who need assistance.  I recently noted that Midleton Meals on Wheels were looking for drivers; this is a great way to give something back to society at little of no cost to ourselves.

Another option that won’t break the bank is to take up a new hobby or do a night course. St. Colman’s College Midleton offer a wide range of evening classes, with costs from €80 for an eight or ten week course.

Remember Oscar Wilde’s wise words: “Everything in moderation, including moderation”.

At Midleton Men’s Shed we also have hopes of new beginnings, and our primary focus in 2019 will be on making good progress on getting a shed for ourselves.  We will keep you informed on progress in future columns.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre, and we welcome new members.
If you would like more information you can contact us by email at:[email protected]
or have a look at our website:
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

East Cork Journal 17-Dec-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News

The Christmas Season, a dangerous time on our roads.

For many, Christmas is a season of celebration, and for some, the celebration seems to revolve around drinking.  Now the dangers of drinking are many, varied and well known, but at this time we want to emphasise the dangers, and illegality of drinking and driving. It has been proven time and again that any amount of alcohol will impair our driving and increases the risk of a collision. This is not an opinion it’s a scientific fact. Yet a minority of people in Ireland continue to drink and drive, making our roads less safe for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.
Below are some important facts and figures you should be aware of as you head out to celebrate this Christmas Season.

A 2016 Road Safety Authority investigation into drink driving in Ireland found that alcohol was a factor in road deaths as follows:

  • 38% of all driver deaths
  • 30% of all motorcyclist deaths
  • 47% of all pedestrian deaths
  • 42% of all passenger deaths
  • 86% of drivers and 51% of passengers not wearing seatbelt who had consumed alcohol were killed.

Both the time of our last drink at night and the number of drinks consumed will determine when it is safe to drive on the following day. It is vitally important to be aware that there could still be alcohol in our system the morning after a night of drinking. Almost half of all arrests for drink driving take place between midnight and 6.00am, while 1 in 10 arrests are made between 8.00am and 2.00pm, with a peak on Sundays.

Driving the morning after drinking.

  • It takes the body one hour to process one standard drink, and there’s no quick fix. Common examples of one standard drink include a half pint of beer/ glass of wine (100ml) / pub measure of spirits (35.5ml).  It is also very important to keep this in mind if having drinks away from the pub environment where measures may be larger.
  • There is nothing we can do to speed up the removal of alcohol from our systems. Common myths are that a big breakfast or drinking coffee or having a cold shower will sober us up, but these are simply not true and don’t work.

Our recommendation this Christmas season is to enjoy your celebrations, but simply Never Drink and Drive, and if you need to drive the next morning, don’t drink on the previous evening.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre, and we welcome new members.
If you would like more information you can contact us by email at:[email protected]
or have a look at our website:
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

East Cork Journal 10-Dec-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News

We appear to be well and truly into the midst of the Christmas season now, and with less than two weeks to go until Christmas Day, it’s very easy to get caught up in the hype and commercialism that seems to begin earlier and grow in intensity every year.  I know that I definitely saw Christmas trees displayed in one of the large shops in Cork City as early as last August, and the towers of chocolates and biscuits were in many supermarkets from the first of November.
In the midst of all this hype and commercialism, it is very easy to forget that Christmas is not a time of joy for everyone.  Some may have lost a loved one around this time of year and for them, it’s a time of loss and sadness, and they can see little to celebrate.  Likewise, some people simply don’t have someone with whom to share the joys of the Christmas season, so for them the giving and receiving are not-existent and the loneliness is increased.
So what can we do?  Well, we can all check in on a neighbour or friend whom we know to be alone or having a tough time around Christmas.  Invite them out for a coffee or a pint, or just phone them for a chat.  Such a small thought from us can mean a huge amount for a friend or neighbour.

Exciting times.
As one of the very few ‘shedless’ Men’s Shed groups in Ireland, we are very excited and delighted that we are making some good progress on finally getting a shed for ourselves.  Obviously, the cornerstone of and Men’s Shed group has to be the shed, and while we’re delighted to have the use of the facilities at the Edmond Rice Centre every Friday for our meet-ups, it’s just not a shed!  We are absolutely delighted that Midleton Parish has given us the use of a site, and we are now proceeding with getting drawings finalised and working on getting planning permission.  While all of this is happening, our main task over the coming months will be fund-raising.  This is a huge job of work for our small group, and we hope the people and businesses from Midleton and surrounding areas will support us so we can support the community with more endeavours such as the Dam Easy floodgates we installed recently in several houses around the town.

Anti-Social Behaviour.
At our last meeting, we have a very good and wide-ranging discussion about Anti-Social Behaviour in the area.  It is disgraceful that elderly and infirm members of the community who are not in a position to defend themselves are preyed upon by young and not-so-young locals who appear to think nothing of banging on doors and windows of other people’s homes in the dead of night and scaring the occupants out of their wits.  In an effort to get a better understanding of this outrageous scourge on vulnerable people in the locality we have decided to ask the community garda to come to one of our meetings in the near future to discuss this worrying topic, and to explain if there is anything we as a group can do to help.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] 
Our new website is
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

East Cork Journal 02-Dec-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News.

Our Man in Calcutta

Midleton Men’s Shed chairman Niall Coffey recently took on a significant challenge; he went on a sixteen-day volunteering visit to West Bengal in India.  After fundraising for the trip over the previous several months, Niall traveled with the Hope Foundation who support the street children of Calcutta through education and medical assistance.
During the first days of the trip which was made up mostly of volunteer work, Niall and the group spent time in the schools and crèches located in the slums of the city.  These children are taken from harrowing situations and given a lifeline through education.  Children are taken in from infanthood upwards and supported right up to when they are seventeen-year-olds, and even after that are assisted with finding work to maintain themselves.  Niall found the poverty these children are forced to survive in before they are rescued to be particularly difficult to stomach, but then on the flip-side, seeing young men and women, supported by the Hope Foundation from early childhood, finishing their education and finding work to live independently was hugely uplifting.
After the slums of Calcutta, the group then undertook the challenge of a charity walk in the foothills of the Himalayas.  They traveled to Sikkam province in Northern India and spent five days walking daily distances of up to eighteen kilometres at altitudes of seven thousand feet. Niall said the scenery was breath-taking, but the distances walked at that altitude were challenging.
Upon returning to Calcutta, Niall spent time on one of the Night Ambulances run by the Hope Foundation, where he experienced more harrowing scenes of abject poverty and deprivation.  He also, however, saw more of the fantastic work carried out by the Hope.  The Hope Foundation also has a fully-functioning hospital where Niall met with both fulltime Indian Doctors and volunteer doctors from Europe the US and many other parts of the world who were volunteering their time and expertise to this very worthy cause.
Niall’s highlight from the trip was seeing the fantastic work carried out by the Hope Foundation.
The lowlight: The mosquitoes.
More information on the great work done by the Hope Foundation can be found on

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] 
Our new website is up and running at
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

East Cork Journal 26-Nov-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News.

The dangers of working on your own.

We should all take account of situations where we work alone.  This is more important for retirees; cutting the lawn in sandals, using workshop equipment which may be as old as themselves – never serviced, carrying out electrical repairs, chopping firewood, etc. etc., no supervisor to enforce rules & safety measures, so what do we do?  Do we take a risk?  No-one is watching!

You take a chance and the chances are you’ll lose!!

We need to think about what we are going to do.  What could go wrong?  What can be done to prevent injuries?  Is help or advice needed?  If something goes wrong while we are alone and you cannot call anyone, does anyone know where we are?

We should never work alone if possible, and if that’s not possible, we must tell someone where we will be working, what time we expect to return, give them our phone number, and if we change location, let them know.

With our Men’s Shed we do everything with a minimum of two people, no matter what the circumstances.  There is safety in numbers.

Most farmers are ‘work-alone workers’, carrying out many hazardous tasks, and the work has to be done. Working long hours in various parts of the farm, feeding/dosing cattle, using heavy machinery, cutting up fallen trees, etc. etc.  A serious injury to the farmer means the farm comes to a virtual standstill.  It’s a hazardous occupation and the farmer must work responsibly.

There is plenty of help available for farmers; Teagasc, HSA newsletters, Farmers Journal, safety circulars for various operations, but action is required to stay safe.

The same assistance is available for retired people.  We can download a lot of useful information from the internet, and if we are not computer literate (many of us) we can just ask a friend or relation who can do this for us. That is why being a member of the local shed, (being a shedder), will give your loved ones peace of mind.  
At the shed, we share ideas, our issues, health & wellbeing, we talk about life, politics, family, and how best to do things as we grow older; it’s teamwork.

Look what the Irish Rugby team achieved recently against the number one team in the world through absolute teamwork. 

We have worked hard to get this far in our lives, now we deserve a good quality of life, we are not children any more.  We need to remain injury-free, relax, be safe.

Our Men’s Shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] 
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton

Credit to East Cork Journal

East Cork Journal 19-Nov-2018

Midleton Men’s Shed Weekly News

Try a little kindness
As I sat down to write this report, a news article on the radio was reporting that today is World Kindness day.  This got me thinking that while it’s a good thing that we have a World Kindness Day, realistically everyday should be kindness day.  There are plenty of little sayings like ‘It’s nice to be nice’, or ‘It costs nothing to be nice’ and these are all very true, however I believe that in addition to not costing anything, there is a kindness dividend too. Every time we do something nice or kind for someone we know, or even someone we don’t know, we feel better about it too.  So can I suggest to you all that you actively carry out a ‘Random act of kindness’ for someone every day as you go about your business. If it’s only to hold a door open for someone as they pass through or pick up something that someone else has dropped, just do it. You’ll both feel better.

Dam Easy Flood Barriers
A few months back it was well reported locally that our Men’s Shed was giving something back to the community by installing ‘Dam Easy’ flood barriers at houses in the Midleton area that are particularly susceptible to flooding.  The recipients were delighted and hugely relieved to get these quick, easy to install devices to protect their homes from future flooding. The good news is we hope to be in a position to present and install another small batch of these barriers in the coming weeks, to other flood-prone households that meet the qualifying criteria.  As soon as we have definite dates for the arrival of the flood barriers we will make it known here and on our facebook and twitter pages. Our Men’s shed group meets weekly at 11.30 on Friday mornings in the Edmond Rice Centre.  We welcome new members, and if you would like more information you can contact us by email at [email protected] 
We are also on social media as follows:
Twitter: @MensMidleton