Community and the power of positive thinking will be at the core of three talks, starting this Tuesday, that are set to draw people in from across the county to East Clare.
The free talks, titled ‘Together We’re Strong’, are aimed at reaffirming the importance of community and how it can, in particular, bring people through the toughest times in their lives.
The first talk takes place on Tuesday night in Scarriff Community College at 8pm and will see Everest mountaineer and Co. Clare man John Burke talk of the spiritual aspect of his journey, how people no longer with him but who had a huge impact on his life brought him through and, indeed, how he and his wife Aoibhín have established a charity, Elevate, to focus on youth mental health.
His talk will be followed on Tuesday, November 28th at St. Joseph’s Secondary School by Eugene Hogan, a native of Tipperary but who now lives in East Clare.
He will talk about the tragic death of his brother Dermot – then the Offaly U-21 hurling manager – in a farming accident and how his family was wrapped up in a circle of support by local, GAA and farming communities during that tragic time.
The third and final talk will be from Armagh star and motivational speaker Oisín McConville, who will give an account of his battle to overcome a gambling addition, a battle that he could never have taken on were it not for the support of others.
The talks are being arranged under the banner of the East Clare Cluster of parishes and, according to one of the organisers Fr. Donagh O’Meara, Moderator of the Cluster, are aimed at reminding people of the importance of positivity and community.
“We’re doing these talks for two reasons. One is to bring people together in a spirit of community because if you look at rural Ireland so many of the places where people gathered are gone so you now have to create spaces where people can come together.
“The second reason for the talks is everybody in their lives experiences challenges or suffering in one way or another at some point.
Somebody once said that it’s not so much that you suffer but it’s how you face your suffering that defines you. It can often hearten you when you see the courage of another. It can lift you and these talks will be uplifting.
“The common thread in it is that all these talks will essentially be about how community pulled and brought our speakers, in one way or another, through and there’s a lesson for us all in that.”