Aherlow Moonlight Walk to benefit Scoil Aonghusa,Cashel

At the launch of the 2013 Aherlow House Moonlight Walk whose chosen charity this year is Scoil Aonghusa, Cashel.Fr. Christy O'Dwyer (pp Cashel). Dolores Fahey (Civil Defense Officer for South Tipp), Siobhan Keyes-Ryan (Principal Scoil Aonghusa), Aoife O'Meara (Pride of Tipperary), former Munster and Ireland player Denis Leamy, John McCarthy (General Manager Aherlow House Hotel), Laura Sweeney (Aherlow House Hotel) and Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald

The launch of the 2013 Aherlow House Hotel Moonlight Walk took place on Wednesday May 15 with the announcement that Scoil Aonghusa Special National School, Cashel, Co. Tipperary will receive all the event’s proceeds.

“We are delighted to announce Scoil Aonghusa is our chosen charity for 2013 that will take place in June,” said Laura Sweeney, Committee. “Over the past number of years, the Aherlow House Hotel Moonlight Walk has raised over €80,000 for various charities, including the Marie Keating Foundation, The Jack and Jill Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis and we hope that this year’s event will be just as successful for Scoil Aonghusa.”

Scoil Aonghusa is a Special National School recognised by the Department of Education and Skill and is governed by a Board of Management in accordance with the Rules for National Schools. The school provides an educational environment that promotes the development of the whole child, body and mind, in a nurturing, stimulating and happy setting. The school was established in 1978 for children with moderate General Learning Difficulties (GLD) and is now also catering for Severe / Profound GLD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Full-time staff members include an Administrative Principal, Deputy Principal, Teachers, Special Needs Assistants, School Nurses, Child Care Trainees, a Secretary and a Chef and also part-time Teachers for specialist subjects.

Siobhan Keyes-Ryan, Principal Scoil Aonghusa, is delighted for the School. “We are absolutely thrilled that we have been chose and we’re really looking forward to the event and hope it will be successful. Our staff is mainly women so this charity walk is really appropriate for us. We are a department of education school who care for students with special needs and we always want to go the extra mile with extra curriculum activities but that always takes extra funding. Our staff set-up a fundraising committee and so far they have redecorated the kitchen/dining area and they’ve put in new playground equipment like wheelchair accessible swings and roundabouts. Our big major plan over the next 3 years is an indoor play area so the Moonlight walk proceeds will be geared towards making that a reality.”

Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald officially launched the event and spoke about the efforts made on the public’s behalf that take part in the Aherlow Hotel Moonlight Walk every year. “I think that anyone who gives up their time and effort to help raise funds for people with disabilities, mixing sport with charity fundraising is fantastic. Raising funds for mentally handicapped and people with disabilities is a cause close to my family’s heart and I wish them every success in their fundraising this year.”

Former Munster and Ireland player Denis Leamy was at the event to show his support for Scoil Aonghusa. “I am very aware of the work that is involved in Scoil Aonghusa and the amount of volunteers who take part in the running of the school. Scoil Aonghusa serves a broad community and I imagine that Cashel is very proud of them and what they do. The children there bring joy and are inspirational; I hope everyone comes out and supports this walk on June 22.”

Teacher, Geraldine Maher, who has worked at Scoil Aonghusa for 33 years made a passionate and emotional speech about the school’s commitment to the development of the students. Everything we do is geared towards the students who each have an individual programme of learning. We cover all school curriculum subjects with the exception of Irish and we have great emphasis on Music, Drama and sport and we’re involved in the Special Olympics since it first came to Ireland in 1980. It’s a great way to get the children to develop and stand on their own two feet – they all have sports to suit themselves and their abilities,” explained Geraldine. “The school is a happy school and regardless of what is happening in your personal life when you go through the gates in the morning you get so engrossed and so involved in what’s happening in the school that nothing else matters. The children take you over, it’s a real happy place to work and the children give so much. Alan, one of our students has no speech and yet he can say so much with his eyes and smile and he’ll tell you exactly what he wants. Gerard will keep the class in order and tells you when to close the door, or be quiet and that’s what this is all about.

Charlie came to us two years ago and he was so shy that he hid behind his parent’s legs but now he has come into his own and developed his personality and confidence. That’s what we’re about, helping the students to develop confidence, hold themselves high and stand tall and be able to account for themselves - it’s never a case of what they haven’t, it’s always a case of what they have.”

Parent Angela McNeil has a child in Scoil Aonghusa for two years. “Since Charlie started at Scoil Aonghusa he has come on so much and is so happy. In the morning he loves getting the bus to school and as a parent your main concern is that your child is happy – this is so apparent and the difference in Charlie is huge. As well as the school curriculum Charlie does everyday stuff, certain things that other kids take for granted like going to the shops and going out for dinner that is so important for his development. We are so happy in the choice that we made sending Charlie to Scoil Aonghusa.”

The 2013 Aherlow House Hotel Moonlight Walk takes place on June 22 at Aherlow House Hotel. This ‘women only’ charity evening begins with an open-air concert on the balcony of Aherlow House at 8pm with the fabulous CJ Kickham Brass and Reed Band. At 9pm the emotional ‘Balloon Wish’ takes place followed by the walk, which takes approximately one hour thought a woodland route. On return to the hotel each participant is rewarded with a glass of champagne and an after event party with refreshments and dancing into the night.

A minimum of €50 is required and sponsorship cards can be collected from Aherlow House Hotel or directly from the organizing committee.

Contact Aherlow House Hotel on 062-56153 or reservations@aherlowhouse.ie for further information.