My train trip to Kilkenny by Emma Brady. 10th August 2013.
Mammy told me that the Special Hands Group was going to Kilkenny on a train. I was very excited as I had never been on a train before. It was going to be a great fun day; all my friends from the Special Hands Group would be there.
Saturday morning came and at 8.30 we all met at Supervalu car park in Navan. We boarded a bus which would bring us to Heuston Station we went to Dublin via the M 50 and we all 50 of us went to Platform 6. All the Mums and Dads were making sure no one got lost, with instructions of don’t get lost, hold your friends hand,. When we stopped at platform 6 we all headed for the toilets. To fix our makeup. Mary Gaynor was the photographers for the day and she took loads of photos of us on the Platform. We were all very giddy waiting for the train oh it was great fun.
Gillian and Christa whom is in a wheelchair they boarded first, Cain helped put Christa in her seat on the train. The Station lady told us when to board and we got on board singing OLE OLE OLE. . The excitement was great, I sat beside my friends, and we all said Let's Get This Party Started. I sat beside my friend Emma Murray and in the other seats around me were Katie, and Sasha, and Louise and Stephen.
Our mums were in seats near us. We were all chatting, only two of our group were on a train before. We met some people on the train whom were from U.S.A and they spoke American.They were on Holiday in Ireland and they also had a son with special needs..We pulled into Kilkenny Station and started singing OLE OLE OLE again we were wild. Christa and her mom got a taxi into the Hotel. The rest of our group headed down the hill to Kilkenny Town Centre. We were chatting and making sure no one got left behind. We were like a big snake coming down the town. We had a big group 50 people. It was fun then a Bee chased Emma Murray she was not pleased, we chased it away. We headed up the hill to the Ormond Hotel for our Dinner. When we got there was a large wedding party leaving , oh such fun people were coming and going and A gentleman in a suit said are ye from KELLS , we said yes and he said follow me. The hotel was beautiful the lights were all shiny and sparkly our group name was on the board. We had a wonderful lunch but halfway through we noticed that HEATHER AND her Sister Carmel were not here .
Theresa Text them, and told them where to come to ( he never told them the name of the Hotel) and when they entered we clapped and clapped . Heather and Carmel are our Cooking Tutors their Granny lives in Kilkenny. When dinner was over we went back down the hill and passed an Art Expedition which was being put on by Heathers and Caramels 21 year old cousin called Patrick Irish.
Our big long line which looked like a snake made its way to Kilkenny Castle, we were all very happy. We went into the castle and put our bags in a room. We then headed for the Luminimarion its like a big bouncy castle with loads of beautiful coloured lights and patterns. It was great fun in there; some of our group did not want to leave. Some of the group went to look inside the castle and they said they saw loads of pictures of strange looking women and men in tights. The boys wanted
to stay the night in the castle, they thought it would be fun…
We all went off and did and saw different events. Aimee and her Mom and Carol and Adam they saw a Gospel Group singing and said it was fantastic. I went on the train around Kilkenny city with Lynda Mary, Katie, and loads more we sang and had great fun. We even saw Elvis standing outside a house door with a gold suit on. The train driver said we were the best group he had all day for fun and singing. We got our photo taken with him. Some of our group went and had Chocolate Pancakes. We all met back at the grounds of the castle and talked about our great day. We headed back down the Hill IN A big long line, and we said goodbye to the beautiful city of Kilkenny behind we headed up the hill to the train. The man in the ticket office was very nice he organised the ramp for Christa’s wheelchair, and we waved goodbye to Kilkenny singing OLE OLE OLE .
All my friend on the train signed their name on a page I have attached it.This was the best day I had all summer, because I Had my first train ride with all my friends.
Thank you Inroad Eireann.
This story has been told to Theresa Olohan who hand wrote it word for word from Emma Brady a very bright young lady with an intellectual disability.
Just go to 1:10:14 on the scroll bar of the Programme
With a special mention to Daniel Olohan for his hilarious one liners!
JOURNEY'S ON US www.irishrail.ie/news/journeys-on-us-special-prize-winners-2013
Last year, Special Hands was lucky enough to be among a number of worthy groups who won an amazing rail trip with thanks to Iarnrod Eireann.
As a second part to the prize, each winning group was asked to send in an account of their day out. The best account of the day would win a prize of €500.
Out of all the entries they received from the people involved in the groups that had initially won the day trip, our very own Emma Brady was picked as the over all winner !!
We are all extremely proud of Emma for winning and for her beautifully written, eloquent and articulate account of the day
The cheque for €500 was presented to Emma and the Special Hands Group in April by Brenda Donohue of RTE' The Mooney Show and an article in the Meath Chronicle praising Emma for her success.
Well Done Emma xx
This evening (24/06/2014) we had our last Chat Class for the young teenagers.
Our young people had a great chatting experience with Ciara Mooney, Mary Logan and Fiona Dean. The reason for our chat classes are to encourage speech between the young people .
The teachers enabled this through role play and flash cards. Theses classes were also rolled out for our juniors and with the same idea of encouraging speaking to their peers.
Our Seniors Class for over 18s was run by Jackie O'Brien and her assistant Leonie (they also tutored the junior class)
This SENIOR class completed its 3rd session in May.
Well done all and funds permitting we will run more classes again into the future.
In October Assumpta Kelly and Theresa Olohan of Special Hands were invited by the Carers Association to attend a summit in Brussells. Assumpta kindly wrote a brief Summary of the Meeting of EU Carers Interest GroupMarian Harkin MEP is one of 4 MEPs on Carers Interest Group at EU level. 3 others are from UK, Finland & Austria. She chairs meeting and drives the Agenda. Panel at meeting included reps from Economic/Financial DG, Eurocarers, Age Platform Europe, European Assoc of Service Providers for people with Disabilities, and European Federation of Nurses.
Carers Interest Group is 8 years in place and consults widely with all EU members and gathers data and also links in at EU level with other EU Directorates. This ensures carers are on the Agenda. Items highlighted were cuts in funding, mainly women as carers, need for workplace flexibility, informal carers, future use of IT based solutions to assist, cross border healthcare directive, respite, varying services in Ireland and even more varied in Europe. As Theresa said each County represented got a chance to speak briefly. We will continue to link with Marian Harkins office. Her contact details are on her website if any one has a specific matter they wish to raise with her. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the 27 other reps from Ireland who attended and will keep links with the Carers Association in the future.
Full details from the meeting will be on a website we can link to in the coming weeks. I will share the link when I get it.
Some of our members took part in the DS European Swimming Championship which was held in Italy. For those of you who haven't heard already Eleanor Murray won a Silver in the 800m freestyle, she also won silver in the 1500m freestyle and Bronze in the 200m fly!! What an amazing achievement and everyone in Special Hands is very proud of all our members who took part
The Make it Happen Foundation brought some members of Special Hands along for a great day out in Funtasia Waterpark in Drogheda. An amazing day was had by one and all. A special thanks to The Make it Happen Foundation and to Funtasia in Drogheda for making the day so special.
Special Hands have been working for some time in conjunction with Kells Swimming pool, Kells Municipal DistricT and Meath County Council to make our home town more accessible for all.
Gillian Philips Brown, one of our committee members, has worked tirelessly with Kells Swimming pool and Meath County Council to improve the mobility services in the swimming pool changing areas. There is now a track and Hoist, as well as a changing bed in the disability changing room. Gillian gives her time to inclusion Ireland on the Changing places project and she has already made a difference to the swimmers in Kells and surrounding areas. Great work Gillian & Co.
Recently Kells has been upgraded in the play area too. Alva Cullen, the chairperson of Special Hands, has been working along side various community groups to bring this fabulous new playground to Kells. The Playground is fully inclusive to all abilities and it includes a wheelchair Carousel, a Mobility Swing, Sensory toys and Musical Equipment. As part of the playground, two new wheelchair accessible parking spots have been installed beside the entrance and the paths have been lowered to accommodate wheelchair users.
Alva has also been advising Dunnes Stores on a new range of special needs clothing that will be launched in Ireland in Mid November.
Last year, one of our member Liam Foley, Travelled to Los Angeles with Team Ireland and over 80 other athletes to participate on the Badminton team at the Special Olympics World Games. There where signs all over Clonard, Kilyon and Longwood wishing him well. Liam went on to win both bronze and silver Medals at the events. We are all extremely proud of Liam and his fantastic achievements, here's to the next Olympics and all the super humans who compete in them.
In July Elenor Murray travelled to Florence in Italy to take part in the World Down Syndrome swimming Championships, She stormed home to win a Bronze Medal in the 1500 meters and placed 4th in the 800 meter freestyle, she reached the world finals of the 200m Butterfly and finished in 8th place. This is just the tip of the iceberg with Elenor, she is a graduate of Dunboyne College of Further education and won the Tv3 Local Legends competition back in 2014.