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Unique community Rambling House event to be held in Ballintubber


Posted 6/12/2023

A Rambling House-type gathering supported by the ALONE charity will be held in Ballintubber on Sunday next, December 10th.

‘The Rambling House’, a unique community event, is the brainchild of Cllr Anthony Waldron, and has the full backing of ALONE, which caters for people who are living in isolation and/or experiencing loneliness.

The event will feature an Ecumenical Prayer Service followed by all the traditions associated with Ireland’s famous rambling houses of bygone years, including music, storytelling, and craic.

There will also be a supportive element to proceedings where ALONE, Community Alert and Safe Home Ireland representatives will address those present about key services and supports that are available locally.

The day’s activities will begin with an Ecumenical Prayer Service which will be held in St. Bride’s Church, Ballintubber at 2 p.m.. The music for the service will be provided by recent All-Ireland Scór winner Sarah Keane from Elphin and her sister Emily, and they will be joined by accordion player Fiona Sirr.

The service will be followed by the ‘Rambling House’ event in Garvey’s Bar in Ballintubber from 3 p.m., featuring local musicians and storytellers. All are welcome.

Among the special guests will be local man Gerard Burke, who has been trending on social media in the pre-publicity for this event, and renowned seanchaí, Vincent Pierse.

Born in North Kerry, Vincent Pierse inherited his gift of telling stories and yarns from storytellers of his locality. He grew up listening to stories made famous by characters like the late, great seanchaí Eamon Kelly.

An acclaimed storyteller himself, Vincent has performed at festivals all over Ireland, the UK, in the US and Canada. He has hosted his own show on Shannonside Northern Sound called the ‘Open Door’. He is also a member of the South Singers Circle where he regularly spins yarns to attentive audiences.

Several other musicians and singers will also feature on the day, along with a talk by former All-Ireland winning Donegal player Anthony Molloy.

In a well-received book published last year, Anthony, who is also a sitting councillor in Donegal, spoke about how he overcame his battles with alcohol and depression.

Cllr Waldron noted that ALONE founder Willie Bermingham’s wife, Mary (Marie) Kelly, who is living in Dublin, was a native of Ballintubber, representing a proud local link with the highly respected charity. Her brothers Milo and Brian are living in Dublin and Portumna respectively.

The ALONE Christmas campaign was recently launched by Dr Maureen Gaffney, who is encouraging people to take a few minutes out of their day to interact with their older neighbours and relatives who may be experiencing loneliness.

So far this year, ALONE has received more than 10,000 calls to their National Support & Referral Line (NSRL). Calls to the NSRL are from older people experiencing difficulties such as housing, isolation, loneliness, mental health, finances and much more. Seven in 10 people that contact ALONE are experiencing loneliness.

Dr. Gaffney commented: “Loneliness is not just a problem for the individual - it has wider social implications because loneliness is contagious. Too many clusters of lonely people and the contagion ripples out to the wider society. So, reach out today to somebody in your wider family, social circle, or neighbourhood whom that you suspect might be lonely. On the run-up to Christmas, before you get too busy, give them a call just for a chat– if you find that they are actually fine, nothing lost. It’s an act of connection and every connection counts. “But also reach out to ALONE – an organisation whose staff and volunteers work quietly and steadfastly, not just at Christmas but throughout the year, to support and befriend those who need them. ALONE whose message is ‘You are not alone’. Make a donation, however small, or better still consider becoming a volunteer in 2024. That is one gift that will keep on giving, strengthening that web of friendship, and belonging that is at the very core of what it means to be a good society.” ALONE will once again embark on the delivery of Christmas hampers and Christmas Dinners to older people across Ireland.

If you know someone who needs support this winter, please call ALONE’s National Support and Referral Line on 0818 222 024, open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information about Alone, go to

Credit: Roscommon Herald