Community Spirit in Coolaney

Yesterday was an exciting day in Coolaney village when the judges for the IPB Pride of Place Awards came to visit. Coolaney was one of two Sligo places nominated and it was a real community effort. There was the butcher, the bakers and the candlestick makers…OK maybe not the latter but certainly the rest.

I’ve lived in Coolaney for almost 28 years, in fact all the time that I’ve lived in Ireland. There’s no other place I’d like to live. We have a beautiful scenic village, lots of different groups to be a part of and a great community spirit. There’s always a friendly smile and a cheery hello.

You can take part in singing, drawing, football, cycling and that’s just to name a few. The Coolaney Tidy Towns have won awards for over 20 years, the ICA have been in operation for over 50 years and Mary told us and the judges all about their lovely organisation in the fantastic event yesterday.

There was Irish music, Irish dancing – including a dance down by the river – an actual, real, Riverdance! There was gospel singing, afternoon tea, Italian food, cup cakes, sandwiches and so many smiling volunteers.

“The purpose of the competition is to acknowledge the work being done every day by communities all over the island of Ireland. Since the competition commenced our judges have met hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom are proud of their place. The competition is based on communities demonstrating directly to the judges their pride in their place by oral presentation, exhibitions of community activities and culture and a tour of the area highlighting the aspects of which they are particularly proud. It is also important that the community demonstrates real partnership with their local council and shows that all sectors of the community are included.”

Hopefully our village showed the judges that we are an inclusive community, there really is something for everyone. It’s only going to get better with the new Mountain Bike Centre and the new Community Cafe which are planned for next year. So fingers crossed for the winners announcement and even if we don’t win I was proud to be a part of it.

charity, sligo

So long seals

Releasing the seals

Yesterday was a lovely day. Rapunzel and Thumper, two seals that were rescued in Sligo during the summer were released back into the wild. Seal Rescue Ireland do an amazing job with  sick and injured seals, rehabilitating them, and getting them back to full health before they are released.

Continue reading “So long seals”


Sligo Stories

Old O'Connell Street looking n
Postcard courtesy Mickey Holmes and sourced from Jim McSharry Sligo Postcards and Photos

The Hawk’s Well Sligo Stories project has had a really enthusiastic response from the public to their call out for cuairteoiri – volunteers who will interview and record those who have stories to tell about Sligo in the early 1900s. Continue reading “Sligo Stories”


Giving some time for the Fleadh

Sligo Champion article

After seeing the wonderful job the volunteers did at the Fleadh Cheoil last year in Sligo I decided to sign up myself this year. Lucy is also volunteering, it’s great to be able to give something to the community and it’s also a great way to meet new people. The Sligo Champion did an article in this weeks newspaper about me signing up so thanks to them for that.

Fleadh Cheoil, literally means “feast of music”, and with over 15,000 musicians taking part in competition and workshops over the course of the Fleadh, volunteers are needed to help in this exciting weeklong feast of entertainment and family fun. Sessions, marching bands, competitions, ceili bands, concerts, singing, street music, exhibitions and the arts are just some of the different parts that go into making the Fleadh the biggest celebration of Irish culture in the world.

We went along to a meeting about volunteering at the Fleadh last week. There were a few speakers and all were very interesting and it turned out to be a very interesting meeting. There were some inspiring words from Enda Brady representing Sligo Tidy Towns; he told us that we are the face of the Fleadh and to help make the visitors feel welcome and to invite them to come back again to our beautiful town.

Anne Gorby who is in charge of all the Fleadh volunteers told us what was expected of us and to not sign up for every single shift or we’d quickly get worn out. There was a representative from Comhaltas who told us all about the origin of the fleadh and how we don’t need to know anything about Irish music to volunteer….phew!!

Last to speak was a representative from Volunteer Ireland, (I have the memory of a goldfish so sadly I can’t remember his name but he was great!), who gave a brilliant talk and was very entertaining. He went through various scenarios with us and showed us a slide show, one of my images from last year was part of the presentation, I was thrilled to see it on the screen!

The Best of Everything There was a real buzz about the meeting so I’m very much looking forward to giving my time for the Fleadh and keeping my fingers crossed that the sun shines and we have as good a time as we did last year. If you would like to volunteer for the Fleadh or see any other volunteering roles available you can go to the Sligo Volunteer Centre website.



The Volunteer Ireland Awards – A Sligo Nominee


Recently I volunteered to take a photo of a volunteer! The lovely Monica volunteers for the Donal Parsons Trust.

The Donal Parson Trust was set up to raise funds for treatment in the USA for seven-year-old Donal. Donal lives in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Monica McElhinney has volunteered tirelessly on Donal’s behalf since he was first diagnosed with cancer. She has helped plan, organise and energise each and every event that has benefitted the trust. She has responsibility for sponsorship for all fundraising events. On top of this she recently ran two marathons to raise funds for the Trust. So far the Trust has raised over €175, 00 and Monica has been responsible for generating much of this.

Monica is one of the 30 volunteers, from all over the country, shortlisted for the Volunteer Ireland awards. The awards will take place in Dublin this Thursday 4th of December and I wish Monica the very best of luck.

Shane Filan

Shane Filan is doing his bit to support the Donal Parsons Trust by performing a Night for Donal, this Friday December 5th at the Knocknarea Arena, IT Sligo. Tickets are still for sale and you can find out how to get them here.


If you would like to follow in Monica’s footsteps the Donal Parsons Trust are still looking for volunteers to help run the book stall at the Strandhill Market on Sundays. They would also love to hear from a face painter to volunteer in Santa’s Grotto. If you can help or would like to find out more you can visit the Sligo Volunteer Centre website.


sligo, Uncategorized

Time to spare? Why not volunteer?

IMG_9213I’ve been volunteering for a few years now in different roles and for different organisations. There were a couple of reasons I started volunteering; one was to give something back to the community, the other was to meet new people.

What I didn’t think about was how rewarding volunteering was. It’s great to feel that you are making a difference and also to feel needed. It also looks great on your C.V. and future employers might be more likely to employ someone who has volunteered. Volunteering is a great way to either use the skills you already have to help others or perhaps to try something new. If you think volunteering is just about shaking a bucket or picking up litter you are wrong. There are all kinds of great roles from beauty therapists to knitters, drivers to cyclists, handy men to office assistants and everything in between. You also don’t have to sign all your spare time away, you can choose the time you give be it 1 0r 2 hours a week or just a couple of hours now and again.

We are very lucky in Sligo to have a ‘One-stop-shop’ with the Sligo Volunteer Centre. It’s great to have them there as they will be able to advise you on roles that may suit you and best of all there is no pressure just information. If you are interested in Volunteering click the link above for more details.