Castletroy and District Lions Club host Senior Lunch

There was singing, dancing and festive cheer at the annual Castletroy and District Lions Club Christmas Senior lunch at the Castletroy Park Hotel last Sunday.

More than 70 invited guests from The Park Village and the Monaleen/Milford Active Retirement group, enjoyed a delicious three course meal, then donned their party hats and danced to the music of Pat Keating and the Clampers band.

This is an annual event sponsored by the Castletroy and District Lions Club.

“We were delighted with the event, and that everybody enjoyed themselves. I would like to thank the staff who were so pleasant and cheerful and the food was delicious. Of course Pat and the band were fantastic and encouraged everybody to sing and get involved,” said Castletroy and District Lions Club President Ms Rita O’Donoghue.

Every Lions Club supports a range of projects in its local community, including health and youth and senior initiatives by organising fundraising activities, and every penny raised goes back into the local community.

Castletroy and District Lions host ASIST

Civil Defence volunteer Gary Shanahan would feel more confident to help someone in distress having completed the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course which recently took place in the Castletroy Park hotel, hosted by the Castletroy and District Lions Club.

In Ireland more than 20,000 people have taken this course since it was development in 1983, more than a million people have taken the ASIST course, which is a two day workshop in suicide first aid. The Living Works’ ASIST programme was developed in Canada in 1983 and is a Health Service Initiative (HSE) started in 2003. Starting in Canada in the early 1980s, More than half a million people have participated worldwide – over 20,000 in Ireland. The NOSP was formed directly after the launch of Ireland’s first suicide prevention strategy; Reach Out: A National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005-2014. The NOSP coordinates ASIST at a national level.

The course trains participants to reduce the immediate risk of a suicide and increase the support for a person at risk. It also provides opportunities to learn what a person at risk may need in order to keep safe and get more help and it encourages honest, open and direct talk about suicide as part of preparing people to provide suicide first aid.

Gary, who is a Swiftwater and Flood Responder Instructor joined the Civil Defence in 2010 said, “A huge part of what we do is search and rescue. Often the person we are searching for may be in a distress state with intent to harming themselves. Our goal is to find the person before any harm can come to them. Once found it is vital to keep the person safe until they receive the help they need. I knew from talking to others that have done this course that it would give me the skills to keep that person safe.”

The Civil Defence is largely made up of volunteers who come from all backgrounds. There are between 3,500 to 4,000 volunteers throughout the country. Each county is then managed by a Civil Defence Officer who are employees of the local authority. The Civil Defence college is based in Roscrea and the staff that work there are employed by the Department of Defence.

 “Apart from meeting some fantastic likeminded people, I feel I gained a lot from the course. It gave me the confidence to approach a person in distress. The skills I learned gave me a clear end goal and a structure on how to get there. It was emotionally tough at times but well worth doing,” added Gary.

 The Castletroy and District Lions Club host the ASIST every year. 

For people who are affected to for further information on services and also the 24/7 free phone numbers for Samaritan’s 116123 and Pieta House on 1800 247 247

Gary Shanahan


Walking in the Air with UL orchestra

Walking in the Air and a selection of Christmas favourites will be performed by the University of Limerick Orchestra (ULO) at their annual Christmas Concert, a great way to get you into the spirit of the festive season.

The concert will include performances from award winning Limerick choir Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ conducted by Orla Colgan Ahern, and Boy Soprano Daniel Ryan who is a student of Limerick School of Music teacher and soloist Emma English.

Conducted by Liam Daly, the orchestra will also perform Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7 Op. 70 and the Hungarian March from the Damnation of Faust by Berlioz.

Established in 1992, ULO is an amateur, community orchestra, the musicians are students and staff from the University, Mary Immaculate College, the Redemptorist Centre of Music, the Limerick School of Music and from other music schools across the region, and is funded by the University of Limerick.

Concert is on at 8pm at University Concert Hall Limerick on Saturday December 9. Tickets are available from University Concert Hall Box Office, University of Limerick at 061 331549 or online at

TICKETS / Main €15 / Concession €10 / Student €5

Artist Pino Amato – Bisha Art, Turin, Italy

On a recent trip to Turin, I happened upon a lovely restaurant called Boka, and became completely absorbed by the unusual artwork on display.

One of the owners noticed my interest and handed me a business card for the artist, Bisha art, the artists name is Pino Amato.

“I realized I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid, watching my dad create his collages, he had a great technique, I was hypnotized by that. I wanted to mix images in order to change the meaning of it and that’s what I do now.”

From Turin, Pino is a self-taught artist. By day he works at an IBM help desk, but he says he eats, sleeps and dreams about art, and at the moment has to balance work commitments with his passion for his art.

“Art is not always considered as important as new mobile or similar, that’s why a real artist is poor most of the time. I could live with art if I had the chance to build the studio I want, it’s a matter of time.”

Pino has had many exhibitions, such as the See-Me project in New York City (NYC) and the Louvre, he is currently a featured artist at MICA the Maryland Institute College of Art, and he has some  personal exhibitions such as at Boka in Turin and at the Fifty House Hotel in Milan.

“See-me was really cool, their project is to celebrate creators of art, any art. In NYC they exhibit all the works on a skyscraper. At the Louvre was the fifth annual Exposure Award, there I was selected with a few other artists. They had a special area inside the Louvre, it was really cool. The MICA institute was really a surprise. They simply contacted me and asked if I was ok to be exhibited permanently on their online gallery, amazing.”

Pino loves to exhibit his works in public places, such hotels or restaurant, where there’s a lot of people moving. He is most creative at night and in the afternoon.

“I hate the rain, the dark winter but sometime can be useful. I can work everywhere there is a good mood, where I can find aesthetic elements I recognize. Some idea need to be ripe as a fruit, some is ready made as soon as it comes in my mind and I see it real.”

A Batman in Rousseau Jungle

“My style is fed by the world, the news, the people, I take my inspiration from what I see around me, that is creating a perpetual motion.”

Pino can work on a new idea for months or just a few hours, it depends how he is inspired.

“I’m really the bohemian artist cliché, I’m thinking about crowd funding. I need to have a real stable studio. I’m fighting with my living monthly. The Fifty House hotel chain in Milan commissioned me a job for a couple of hotels they have, plus I’m selling some works to people randomly. It takes a lot of effort and thinking to create art, even if I love it.”  to see more of his work

Venice entrance to New York City

Mary Barry launches debut album at Dolan’s Warehouse


I Knew You, the debut album by Mary Barry, will be launched at Dolan’s Warehouse at 8pm on November 1.

Limerick Lady Mary, is a singer songwriter who, after many years of thinking about it, finally put pen to paper and composed nine original songs over the last year and a half.

“My inspiration comes from a combination of my two loves which, apart from the people in my life, are music and philosophy, and also learning from songwriters I admire, and writing what’s true to me,” said Mary.

The seed of this album began when Mary finally used a gift she had received, an hour in a recording studio in Dublin, three days before the voucher was due to expire. There she recorded her first song, accompanying herself on guitar. That was the start of her creative journey that eventually led her to Red Door productions in Limerick, where she met Dave Keary.

“Luckily for me, Dave has a very busy schedule, which meant there was time between meetings to write more songs. So, what started out as one song became nine. It has been an amazing journey, and a privilege to work with Dave and the amazing calibre of musicians he brought together in the making of this album,” added Mary.

Having always loved singing, Mary originally took guitar lessons so she could accompany herself as a hobby. Inspired by song writers such as Kris Kristofferson and Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary’s main influences are folk and country music. She writes philosophically about her life experiences and hopes she is conveying thoughtful and uplifting messages through her songs.

“When I’m singing I think about the lyrics and what they mean to me. I love the way music brings out feelings and helps summarise otherwise complicated scenarios. I also feel deeply grateful and spiritual. The songs mean all I’ve ever felt but never thought I would have or need to explain, if that makes sense,” said Mary.

On the night Mary will be accompanied by Dave Keary on guitar, Danny Byrt on Drums, Eoghan O’Neill on Bass and James Hanley on Keyboards.

“Other than singing a couple of songs in a pub the odd time, I’ve never done anything like this. In one way, I can’t wait. In another way, I’m terrified,” added Mary.

Tickets are €5.00 and can be bought from

The Countess’ Salon performed by The Opera Workshop at No 1 Perry Square Hotel

The Countess’ Salon, performed by new Limerick based group, The Opera Workshop, will take place in No 1 Pery Square Hotel on October 15, November 12 and December 10.

Founded, produced and directed by well known Limerick Lady, Shirley Keane, this premier performance has a cast of some of some of Limerick’s best known singers, including Sarah-Ellen Murphy, Jean Wallace, Eve Stafford, Kevin Neville and Catriona Walsh, with piano accompaniment by Irina Dernova.

The performances will comprise well-known songs and musical highlights, including those by Puccini, Bizet and Mozart and the December concert will also feature Christmas songs and carols.

‘It is a wonderful time to be trying something new in Limerick.  I have come home to an energised city and county that is enthusiastic and excited by arts and culture.  And though opera is not new, nor is Limerick’s love of opera new, I hope that the work of The Opera Workshop will be refreshing, challenging and entertaining for Limerick audiences and artists,’ said Shirley.

Having spent more than 20 years in the United Kingdom, Shirley, a professional actor, singer and teacher, believes that the possibilities for creating original cross-art and vocal work are endless.  Her aim is to cultivate a company that develops high standard professional productions, while simultaneously encouraging younger, local musical talent.

“It was the room that actually inspired us with the idea of a grand opera salon, hosted by a charming, glamorous Countess.  The audience should feel like her guests enjoying her party and are privy to the gossip and scandal that is brewing around them.

“We devised the story, characters emerged, we played with the relationships between the characters, and a script was devised and written which acts as a link for the songs but also creates a tangible story.  There will be a mix of styles of songs and opera including light opera, folk, German lied, music theatre and opera performed in English, German, French and Italian,” added Shirley.

The cast have been rehearsing since early September and are hopeful for full houses as tickets are selling fast for this intimate venue which holds 50 people per performance.

Shirley’s hope for The Opera Workshop is to provide the focus for a collective of like-minded artists interested in testing their skills, developing new productions, seeking opportunities to experiment, develop and share innovative ideas in opera performance as there are many musicians from across the Mid-west  who work on a professional and semi-professional basis in Ireland and internationally.

Shirley intends that The Opera Workshop will have a strong community and outreach ethos and welcomes opportunities to work with schools and community groups interested in developing projects that serve their needs while exploring a vibrant, joyous and beautiful art form

Having begun her vocal training with Olive Cowpar in Limerick and worked for a couple of seasons at Bunratty Castle as an entertainer, Shirley then went on to study a Bachelor of Arts degree in acting at the Rose Bruford College of Drama, London, and voice and opera at both The Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music London.

Her successful career saw her including Opera Theatre Company, Basingstoke Haymarket, Opera Holland Park, with concert and oratorio performances across Europe and in venues such as The Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Old Trafford football stadium and Dublin’s National Concert Hall.

And teaching through community and outreach work in particular, through her own community opera company in East London, East End Opera and with companies such as Live Music Now, Glyndbourne Opera, The Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and more lately as a director and acting teacher at The Guildhall School of Music, London where she is a member of the vocal faculty.

The No 1 Pery Square Hotel are offering a pre-opera 3 course special menu at €35 pp.  Dinner reservations can be booked directly with the hotel – 061  402402/

The show tickets are booked via  We take bookings, reserve tickets which must be paid for on the night.  Box office available from 7.30

“The dinner is a separate offer made by the hotel and not part of the performance.  If people want to avail of this special rate for a meal at No 1 Pery Square they book directly with the hotel and would probably need to consider an earlier booking as the show must start at 8pm.  But guests can bring drinks into the performance.  Tickets for the show can be booked independently without having to book for the dinner,” added Shirley.

Tickets for performances of The Countess’ Salon must be pre-booked on

Tickets cost €20 and €15 concession.


Castletroy & District Lions Club aids Cliona’s Foundation

President of the Castletroy and District Lions Club Rita O’Donoghue, would like to thank all who helped and attended the table quiz in aid of Cliona’s Foundation at the Castletroy Park Hotel on Friday April 21.

Though incapacitated at the time of the event Ms O’Donoghue said the evening was a great success in helping to raise funds and awareness for Cliona’s Foundation.

Phil Deegan spokesperson for Cliona’s Foundation Photo by Jen Fuentes

Cliona’s Foundation is a Limerick based charity, established in 2007 by Brendan and Terry Ring, that provides financial assistance directly to parents of children with life limiting or chronic complex care needs throughout Ireland, to help with the non medical expenses related to caring for their child.

Following the death of their daughter Cliona, from an inoperable brain tumour, Brendan and Terry set up Cliona’s Foundation, in honour of their daughter. Since its launch, the charity has raised in excess of €1.25 million euro over the past 10 years and provided assistance to over 400 families in 29 Counties.

“We were delighted to get the call from Rita advising that the Castletroy Lions Club had selected Cliona’s Foundation as beneficiary of their Annual quiz. The Lions Club do tremendous charitable work and we have been very lucky to have benefitted from their fundraising activities in previous years.

“Cliona’s Foundation relies solely on fundraising events and private and corporate donations, so this event and the monies generated from it are very important to us, to enable us continue support families who need it,” said spokesperson for Cliona’s Foundation Phil Deegan.

Phil said events like this are important for the foundation, not only for benefitting from the money received but also for the opportunity to raise awareness for the work the foundation does, such as being the only charity in the country to provide this type of support across a broad range of conditions, from birth up to the age of 16 years

The money raised from this event will go directly towards providing assistance to a family of a child with a life limiting illness, to help alleviate the pressure and stress associated with the non medical costs, such as car parking charges, accommodation, travel expenses, childcare costs or specialised equipment.

“This week we were able to send out cheques to 8 families. For one of these families both children have a life limiting illness and are travelling abroad for treatment with one of them. Both parents have taken leave from work and will be incurring significant costs at home and abroad.

“Each year is a challenge in terms of fundraising, and while we are delighted our profile has increased significantly over the past 2 years, that has also meant an increase in the number of applications we are receiving on a weekly basis. Ideally we want to be in a position that we do not have to refuse any family that meet the criteria our support.

“It is the many thank you letters we receive back from families that reinforce for us the need that’s out there, the impact that our support has and the drive for us to continue on our journey,” said Phil.

The Castletroy and District Lions Club is a volunteer organisation that organises fundraising events with every penny raised going directly to good causes in local communities  All members of Lion Clubs International are committed to serving local communities.

Phil Deegan spokesperson of Cliona’s Foundation and Ken Mc Cauley member of Castletroy and District Lions Club Photo by Jen Fuentes