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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 24 September 2020

"We look out for each other": This Men's Shed meant an end to loneliness for these men

“A lot of men we have would have suffered from depression but the change in people after a few weeks here is unbelievable.”

FRIENDSHIP AND ENCOURAGEMENT – those were the words used over and over again to describe what the Men’s Shed in Drogheda offers to its members.

Many older men experience social isolation after they retire but the Men’s Shed seems to be the perfect antidote to that, with one user describing how he’s “among friends” when he walks through the doors.

Men's Shed

On the morning TheJournal.ie visited two of the men were chatting about what was being cooked for dinner that afternoon, while three others were discussing how to solve a small problem with the water system.

The shed is immaculately kept, with lots of rooms including a kitchen, an art room, a woodwork room, a meeting room, a pool room, an office and a large area with sofas where many of the men were tucking into freshly made soup.

There’s a friendly camaraderie between the members that isn’t forced or faked. There’s a very real sense that this is a place that people enjoy but also respect.

There are about 84 members of the Men’s Shed in Drogheda – with about 20-25 men using the service every day.

Danny Churchill told TheJournal.ie: ”There’s a great interchange of encouragement between the men, they’re brilliant.

We’re a crutch for one another, y’know. When you get to our age you need all the help you can get.

“I find there’s nothing as good as human therapy for general ails, for your wellbeing.”

Men's Shed - pool Danny Churchill taking a shot at the Men's Shed, Drogheda

Men’s sheds were set up to provide a place for older men to share and learn new skills, to work on small projects together and to socialise.

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was set up in January 2011 and now has over 250 sheds across Ireland.

Drogheda men’s shed is a member of the Louth Community Men’s Sheds and was officially opened on 14 June 2012. There are two other sheds in Louth.

The men meet up to chat about what’s going on their lives, touching on the lighter subjects and the more difficult ones.

Churchill said: “We replay the football from the weekend and correct all the mistakes even though none of us are good footballers… and we change the government every week.”


He said that he also enjoys reading, but added: “When you’re reading you’re on a solo run, whereas when you’re up here you’re among friends.”

‘We look out for one another’

The Drogheda Men’s Shed has also helped the men to talk about their mental health, leading to some positive improvements.

Committee member Myles Condra said most men would spend two or three hours on each visit.

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Men's Shed - paintings

“A lot of men we have would have suffered from depression but the change in people after a few weeks here is unbelievable.

If we notice that somebody hasn’t been around for a while we’d give them a call and ask if they’re okay. We’re all friends here – we look out for one another.

Condra previously worked as a chef and cooks for the members of the Men’s Shed. He also paints and does woodwork and has even sold some of the things he has made in the local market.

However, he was quick to point out that before this he had no experience of working with wood:

I [had] never seen a bit of timber, only what was put in the fire.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Philip Bradley is another one of the men who regularly visits the shed. He told TheJournal.ie:

People are very nice and I have a good chat and good craic with them everyday, I look forward to it every morning.

He took the time to talk us through how he makes doll’s houses and what got him started making them:

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Men’s sheds aren’t just a place for men to go to learn new skills – they’re a place to go when you need friendship and support.

They offer the chance to keep occupied and keep your brain learning, but also a way to bond with others at a similar stage of life

Read: Planning ‘neglect’ has made Drogheda a town that has lost its ‘heart’>

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