Hello Carlow How Are you Day

Carlow County Development Partnership are delighted to support today the Hello Carlow Day in association with Carlow Mental Health Association, and in particular to be in Rathvilly this morning meeting people supporting the campaign, be it in the Post office, the Parish Priest or teachers and pupils in the National school.

Promoting Inclusion: Failte Isteach: Isabel's Story


Isabel Galetx is from Pamplona in the Basque region of Spain. In 2016 she relocated to Ireland with her husband Biktor and 2 sons and is now living in Bagenalstown. Her younger son Oihan has successfully started in St Brigid's Boys National School and her older son Ekai in the Vocational School and she has been amazed as to how quickly they have adapted to the life here and nearly speak English like a native.

"They are embarrassed of my English" she laughingly says"When they bring friends home and I try to interact with them, they tell me to be quiet, as I have such a strong Spanish accent".

The boys quickly made friends on the estate where the family is living:

"There is a football net on the green in front of the house. On the first day they were shy, but once they went out and joined in they were quickly welcomed by the other players"

Isabel got in touch with Failte Isteach in January and has been a regular ever since in the group that meets in Oak Park Community Center every Monday at 6.  She also attends the small group that has started to meet recently in Bagenalstown Family Resource Centre. One aspect she really enjoys about the classes is the big mix of nationalities.

"I am really happy to meet with all the different nationalities" she says. "At home we would not have had the opportunity to meet as many different nations as here in Carlow. I like to meet new people so I am really happy with this".

She pays tribute to Sandra, the Co-ordinator and all the tutors in the way they have made her feel so welcome from the first day. She has been inspired by the whole model and thinks that it would be great to see something similar set up in her native Spain.

Failte Isteach is a simple,  friendly,  way of promoting greater inclusion and participation in our local communities. It has the extra aspect of providing opportunities for volunteers to contribute to their communities and engage actively in society. The energy and warmth in the groups are palpable on Monday evenings and Friday mornings in Carlow and on Thursday evenings in Tullow. Feel free to drop in or get in touch if you would like to take part and do something really worthwhile.

Promoting Inclusion: Older Person Forum; Fundraising and Strategic Partners


The Carlow Older Persons Forum goes from strength to strength and is engaging in a number of initiatives this year to heighten awareness of the needs of older members of the community as they access important daily services. We are particularly happy to note the development of a key strategic  partnership with the Bank of Ireland  in this work this year. The bank branch at Shamrock Plaza organized a lovely Bake Sale on Friday May 19th, with all proceeds going to the Forum. We are happy to report that over 700 Euros was made. A special thanks goes out to all who baked the wonderful array of treats including members of our own Carlow County Development Partnership staff, and to Derek the Bank Manager who facilitated the whole event.

CCDP works with individuals and community who aim to improve the lives of their community or their group. Older persons have a significant contribution to make their the Carlow community and the Older Persons Forum aims to make their voice heard  by service providers and organizations.

Community Development: Promoting Wellness. Rathvilly How Are You?


On May 25th the town of Rathvilly is taking time to check in with neighbours and friends to see how they are, on a day entitled "Hello Rathvilly How R U?" In association with Carlow Mental Health Association and supported by Carlow County Development Partnership everyone in the town is encouraged to take time that day to ask someone how they are feeling and really listen and engage with them, offering support if needed.  We are all so busy these days, that we forget to take time out to check in with the people in our lives or in our neighbourhood. Sometimes we are more focused on people far away on social media and we forget about the person who is right in front of us.


This day is part of the wider Carlow How  R U campaign which has run for the past number of years, encouraging ordinary people and non-experts to talk about mental health. These simple, informal supports - like asking someone how they are - can often help the most.

The campaign has 5 steps - to simply say HELLO and ask the person how they are doing, to ENGAGE with the person in genuine friendliness, to LISTEN and LEARN about the person and to OFFER ongoing support.


Carlow County Development Partnership is delighted to be associated with this work through the SICAP Programme. Like many rural parts of Ireland, Carlow faces mental health challenges associated with loneliness, isolation and lack of support and unfortunately these challenges can give rise to serious consequences, including suicide. Everyone can feel overwhelmed at times in their life but research shows that there is “overwhelming evidence of a strong link between socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviour”.  Mental health challenges can be impacted by social, economic and environmental factors, including unemployment and rural isolation,so the Carlow SICAP programme is focused on increasing awareness of this fact and on improving mental health supports in rural areas and in communities impacted by disadvantage.

If you would like further details of this initiative please contact Joanne at 086 3843361


Promoting Inclusion: Older Persons Forum Flag Day


Carlow County Development Partnership are are delighted to have supported Carlow Older Persons Forum in their recent Flag Day which was hugely successful raising over 900 euro. It was also wonderful to have so many students from St. Leo's engage with us and the Forum and give freely of their time and energy, Their enthusiasm to work with us in community and voluntary initiatives is truly inspiring and bodes well for the future. Carlow Men's Shed also came out in force for the day

Community Development in Bagenalstown: Energy and enthusiasm in a community garden

We at Carlow County Development Partnership are always excited to meet with communities and groups who are working to bring about positive change in their areas. So we are delighted to be associated with the Community Garden at Gleann na Bearu in Bagenalstown.  Over the past few months this group has been meeting  on Wednesday mornings,  working hard, planting seeds and creating a unique greenhouse made out of recycled plastic bottles.

You can follow their progress here:  https://www.facebook.com/CarlowCountyDevelopmentPartnership/posts/1241385285946902

Community Gardens like this one are all about being together, and can have very positive social, economic wellbeing  and environmental impacts on communities. Participants connected with the gardens normally have a better appreciation of their community and get great satisfaction from the work done outdoors.

Carlow County Development Partnership are working in a number of horticulture projects like this, as well as with the Gairdin Beo in Carlow town.

Tús Support for local groups: Clonegal


Clonegal in County Carlow has earned itself the reputation as one of the prettiest towns in Ireland following their success in prestigious awards such as The Tidy Towns competition and the Entente Florale Europe.

The reputation is well-deserved and a credit to the people behind the Tidy Towns committee and also to the Tús participants who over the years have been instrumental in the physical task of keeping Clonegal beautifully landscaped and litter-free. Marie Byrne, secretary of the Tidy Towns committee is passionate about Clonegal despite describing herself as  a ‘Dublin blow-in to the village’. She, along with her fellow committee members appreciate the beauty, history and unique aspect of Clonegal and play a significant role in the community effort made by the people of the village in their bid to make Clonegal the Tidiest Village in Ireland.

‘We are very proud of Clonegal and what we have achieved for our village. Everyone takes a personal interest in ensuring that the village is well kept and we also have great support from the Tús workers over the years. Their input was invaluable when we represented Ireland in the Entente Florale in 2013 and won the Gold Medal. We have a small workforce and therefore the availability of a Tús worker to us made a big impact. They are so willing and so helpful’, says Marie.

In order to prepare Clonegal for that  competition, there was considerable planning and physical work undertaken by the committee. In 2014, with the support of Tús participants, they developed a new community garden for the use of the people of Clonegal and visitors to the village as they come to the end of the ‘Wicklow Way’ walk.

"We walk the town and make a list of what needs to be done at the beginning of the year and then we speak with the Tús supervisor who in turn prepares a work schedule for each Tús worker. We know that if we ask them to do a job it will be done. They are so reliable and dedicated. We would be lost without the help of the Tús workers” Marie says.

In 2015, the ‘Weavers Cottage’ was supported by Tús with a participant on site to keep the cottage  open for visitors. The Tidy Towns committee of Clonegal depends on the additional support of Tús as it takes pressure off the committee and regular volunteers who are always in demand.  In that year, Clonegal was named Ireland’s tidiest village in the national Tidy Towns awards for the second year running. and in 2016 it was awarded a Gold Medal in the same competition.

The Tús workers offer invaluable support to the Tidy Towns committee. We are a small village so it is the same people doing the same work all of the time. The Tús workers relieve some of the pressure and not only that, they do a fantastic job – they know what they are doing. We are always there for them too – I think it is a mutually beneficial relationship!’ says Marie.

There is currently one Tús participant supporting the work of the community as they come together to make their village one of the nicest places to live in Carlow.

The LEADER programme has also supported Clonegal over the years, including in the upgrade of a rural walk, developing a DVD to market the town and publication of a tourism brochure.

Carlow County Development Partnership is delighted to have supported the work of this community in numerous ways  over the years. They are an example of what can be done when people come together to make their part of the world better in little ways, day by day. Everyone has something to give. It doesn’t matter what our age, our skills, or our passions are....we can join together to make Carlow a great place to live.