St Gabriel’s School gets big cash boost

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

ST GABRIEL’S school, which caters for children with sensory disabilities, received a major funding boost over the weekend following a barn dance in County Limerick.

ST GABRIEL’S school, which caters for children with sensory disabilities, received a major funding boost over the weekend following a barn dance in County Limerick.

The Dooradoyle centre was expected to benefit to the tune of around €12,000, following the event which took place in Kilmeedy on Saturday night.

More than 600 people descended on Niall O’Callaghan’s farm outside he village for the dance on Saturday night.

Only recently married his wife, Michelle O’Brien, works with disabled children in St Gabriel’s.

The couple picked up on the idea of having a barn dance while on holiday in Thailand earlier this year.

“We decided to take the idea and adapt it to suit both the Irish culture and weather and what we came up with was a traditional Barn Dance instead,” Michelle said, adding that they were popular in the 1980s, when Ireland was also in the grip of recession.

St Gabriel’s was first established in the 1960s, and currently caters for more than 400 children with a range of physical and sensory disabilities across the region.

All the money raised from the barn dance will go towards keeping St Gabriel’s Hydrotherapy pool up and running.

Most of the school’s income comes from fundraising event like these, as well as contributions and donations from individuals, and private companies.

The pool - which opened in 2009 - is also available to the public for open sessions during the week. Among the groups which use it are the Arthritis Association, the Butterfly Club, the local branch of the multiple sclerosis society, Parkinson’s association, stroke victims and several other disability groups.

The facility allows those with disabilities experience confidence and freedom of movement they may find it tough to get otherwise.