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Shoulder to shoulder in Sixmilebridge Men’s Shed

The lads gather round for a demonstration in soldering during the first tutorial with stained Glass tutor Gerry Ruane at the Sixmilebridge/Kilmurry Mens Shed. Photograph by John Kelly.
The lads gather round for a demonstration in soldering during the first tutorial with stained Glass tutor Gerry Ruane at the Sixmilebridge/Kilmurry Men’s Shed.
Photograph by John Kelly.

A DECOMMISSIONED prefab in St Finnachta’s National School in Sixmilebridge has become a centre of learning once more but for a more mature body of students.
The single-room structure is now the base for a Men’s Shed where each Tuesday night a group of men gather to work on projects or simply enjoy the craic and camaraderie.
One of the founding members, Tom 0’Dea from Kilmurry explains, “The Men’s Shed, to borrow that overused tagline, ‘does exactly what is says on the tin’. It is a communal shed, a place where men can work together or individually on projects such as mechanics or woodwork, a place where men can enjoy the craic and a joke in a spirit of comradeship.
“It’s a shed where you can ask for help if you need to, and it’s a place where you might have sound advice or a skill to teach others.”
The Sixmilebridge Shed is a community-based organisation which is open to all men in the area. The group has a mixture of ages, backgrounds, interests and skills.
“On the surface a Men’s Shed might seem like the old fashioned garden shed and, in many ways, it is. But a Men’s Shed also offers a lot more subtle benefits for all involved such as increasing social networks and learning new skills,” he added.
He continued, “As men age, or as many nowadays find themselves unemployed, the loss of friends and feelings of isolation can easily take a negative toll on our minds. It is commonly understood, if not often spoken about, that men are happiest when tinkering with an old engine or seeing a broken piece of furniture come back to life. It is this very sleeves-rolled-up business that is harnessed in a Men’s Shed. After all, men don’t talk face to face; they talk shoulder to shoulder”.
The Sixmilebridge Mens Shed has received support from Clare VEC who is providing tuition for agreed projects. Currently, a course is being organised in “Stain Glass Craft”. The group also received financial support from Sixmilebridge Credit Union in getting established.
“It is not just the men of the area however that will benefit alone from the Men’s Shed, as the men plan to work with local community groups and voluntary agencies for the betterment of the community,” Mr 0’Dea added.

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