Better Together - Níos fearr le chéile

Ballinamore and Lisnaskea Men's Shed come together for unique event

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Ballinamore and Lisnaskea Men's Shed come together  for unique event

Members of Ballinamore & Lisnaskea Men’s Shed came together last Saturday in Leitrim Village for an enjoyable social & cultural event. They are pictured with Seamus & Eileen, Electric Bike Trails

The Better Together – Níos Fearr Le Chéile project staff and members of Ballinamore and Lisnaskea Men’s Shed came together on Saturday for an enjoyable social and cultural event.

The Better Together – Níos Fearr Le Chéile project is an 18-month cross-border, cross-community programme of events focusing on community development, good relations building, reconciliation and mutual understanding.

The project is funded by the International Fund for Ireland and is facilitated by the Ballinamore Area Community Council Ltd.
Together these organisations are supporting organisational and community development, promoting cultural awareness, enhancing skills development, facilitating adults to build on cross border friendships, facilitating youth programmes, and building on peace process in both Leitrim and Fermanagh.

After an early start the group was welcomed to Leitrim Village by Seamus and Eileen of Electric Bike Trails Ltd. and an array of electric and peddle powered bikes draped in the required High Viz jackets!

Leitrim Sports Partnerships’ Trio Bike or Trishaw was also out for the day which assisted the inclusion of all members of the group in enjoying the beautiful morning cycle. Seamus and Eileen guided the group through the picturesque Leitrim Village onto the Shannon Blueway.

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The Trio Bike or Trishaw was also out for the day which assisted the inclusion of all members of the group in enjoying the beautiful morning cycle Picture: Emer Clancy

A tranquil twenty kilometer round trip of traffic free cycling, along the banks of the Lough Allen Canal onto the floating boardwalk at Acres Lake in Drumshanbo.

A quick pit stop at McGuire’s Cottages’ to re-fuel with Jinny’s Scones and Barry’s Tea in the fabulous new tearooms, and the ever-friendly welcome from Sinead, Grace and gang buoyed everyone back to Leitrim Village in good spirits.

Arigna Mining Experience

The second part of the day took the group to the Arigna Mining Experience with incredible views across Lough Allen and the surrounding mountains. Loraine provided a hearty lunch which was greatly appreciated when the tour of the mines chilled those cycling heated bones.

The tour was guided by Seamus Lynch and was very engaging. The spontaneous question and answers that occurred provided an illuminating insight into hundreds of years of mining history, and its impact on the culture and community of Arigna and surrounding areas.

The light and sound elements enhanced real the life feel of an underground mine.

The guide narrated stories of camaraderie, a job for life and fair and decent mine owners, even though the chill air, dripping walls and evocative and palpable harsh elements of the everyday work might have had you believe different.

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Banter and ballads

The journey home was shortened by cheerful banter and some ballads lead by Máirtín O’Díomasaigh. The ubiquitous ballads of “Black is the colour of my true loves hair” and “Nancy Spain” featuring. The traditional tunes played were “The Knights of St Patrick” and “Scattery Island” which are pieces we can all own. Scattery Island interestingly is the last navigable point on the Shannon Erne waterway. It is a point where boat men loaded their boats with stones from the island for stability as they headed out to sea.

We had a show of hand regarding who owned a bicycle, and who would now be inclined to cycle again within the next week. About a third of those present indicated they had ambitions of cycling again soon!

Ballinamore Men's Sheds was established in 2014 and is affiliated with the Irish Men's Sheds Association. They are based in the Old Tech and are interested in a wide range of activities. The Men's Sheds meet every Wednesday from 7 to 10 pm and extend these hours in line with seasonal activities.

New members are always welcome, and the only criteria is that you must be male and aged between 18 and 118!
Lisnaskea Men’s Shed was established in 2015 and is a place where men can come together to socialise and take part in a variety of activities. Activities are led by the members. They decide what they want to learn and work on. The Shed meets every week in the Lisnaskea Business Complex.

Quotes from the day “That there now, would encourage you back to cycling” and Fermanagh man to fellow Leitrim man “see that dip and the end of the mountain between these two here, just at the edge? That’s Cuilcagh, just the other side of that is where I am”

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