Former Limerick Convent of Mercy is now full of gentlemen

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

 Doon & District Men's Shed and Doon Community Council hosted a 6K walk last Saturday  to raise funds for the Men's Shed and Doon Community Centre  Picture: Keith Wiseman

Doon & District Men's Shed and Doon Community Council hosted a 6K walk last Saturday to raise funds for the Men's Shed and Doon Community Centre Picture: Keith Wiseman

WHEN the convent in Doon closed in 2016 this reporter wrote that it brought to a close 151 years of the Sisters of Mercy serving the people and parish but I was wrong.

The religious order gave permission to Doon and District Men’s Shed to use the building and the members are eternally grateful. They started with four men last January and now have over 30. Tom Hayes, treasurer, said it is great to see the convent being used and not just lying empty.

“We would like to thank the Sisters of Mercy.  They have been more than obliging - anything we have asked for they have given to us. They even helped out with covering the cost of insurance until we got on our feet.  We are indebted to them,” said Tom.

The idea of a men’s shed grew from a meeting before Christmas on what to do with the empty convent.

Four of us got together and it started from there. Pakie O’Brien is the chairman. We have men from their thirties to the late seventies. We are have to 31 members in a few months and more are welcome. We have lots of space,” said Tom.

They meet every Monday night from 8pm to 10pm for a chat, the workshop is every Thursday from 2pm to 4pm and art classes have commenced on Wednesday nights. As a few of the gentlemen are from Annacarty the conversation took an understandable lean towards hurling after Limerick beat Tipperary.

“RTE has the Sunday Game and we have the Monday game,” joked Tom. “It doesn’t happen too often that we beat Tipp and it was great to have four Doon GAA men – Richie English, Darragh O’Donovan, Barry Murphy and Pat Ryan “Simon” – on the pitch,” he continued.

Tom says most of the regulars aren’t men who go to the pub.

“It is a community night out. It is a coming together of people and just chatting. It is not all about the workshop, it’s just to have a conversation and the chat. Years ago farmers met at the creamery and gave half an hour talking but all that has changed now. It is a place to get together and chat,” said Tom.

To raise money Tom organised a walk on Saturday night. Close to 100 went for a 6km stroll and €800 was raised. It will be equally divided between the men’s shed and Doon Community Centre. 

“The weather was lovely and it was a great night. Joanne and James Fox, of The Local bar, put on a barbecue. Heiton Buckley gave us three €100 vouchers and Spar shop gave us bottles of water. It was a community night and the money will go back into the community,” said Tom.