A Christmas party is always a time to have fun and be grateful for what you have, but this Christmas it is even more special for the clients and staff of Cahir Day Care Centre because just a few months ago they didn’t know if they would have a ‘home’ for Christmas.
Last week all those who attend the centre joined with local musicians and singers to hold the annual Christmas party in the newly renovated building that was saved from being destroyed in a fire earlier this year.
Clients and staff moved back in only a few weeks ago and all those who attended this year’s party were very grateful for the premises they used during the time the centre was closed, but they described being back in the Day Care Centre as like coming home.
“It’s absolutely brilliant,” board member Margaret Walsh said. “I couldn’t even describe it - it’s like coming home,” another board member Ann Hanrahan agreed as they got ready for the tasty Christmas lunch that was served up after a special Christmas mass and carol singing from students of Colaiste Dun Iascaigh.Returning to the centre “helped to take the bite out of all the depression,” centre manager Lil Davis said. Lil, who dressed for the day in a Mrs Claus outfit and flashing Christmas earrings, said the main topic of conversation among the men and women who attend the centre is how the place is so lovely and so warm. “We are more than thankful for the facility we had but coming back here, this is where they feel at home. Everybody came today.”
“They feel they can really relax now,” chairperson of the centre’s board, Peggy O’Brien said.
The Christmas party is special for people who may have lost husbands or wives during the year, Ann said, because it is a comfort to be with their friends. Their home lives have changed but going to the centre has remained the same for them.
Lil paid tribute to the back up the centre received from the local District Nurse, and said that when the centre is closed, over Christmas, they can arrange for a little bit of extra support for people who need it.
Ann thanked the school choirs who performed, from Colaiste Dun Iascaigh and Our Lady of Mercy sixth class girls. Fr Bobby Power said the mass and stayed on with the clients for the dinner and celebrations.
Peggy took the opportunity to thank Lil for all her work. “I don’t know what we’d do without her, she has an understanding of everyone,” Peggy said.
After mass everyone was treated to a delicious turkey and ham Christmas Dinner, with pudding and trifle, a recital from the girls of Our Lady of Mercy primary school, and dancing to music from local musicians.
Among those enjoying the party was 98 yea-old Josie Quinlan from Knocknore. Josie, who drives herself in to the centre every Tuesday, has been coming since it opened. “I love it,” she said. “We missed it when we didn’t have it,” she said of the centre. “We appreciate the meals and the bingo, everything here. Lil is marvellous, she was born for it. A lot of work went in to what is happening here today and it’s good fun. You get to know everybody and you get out once a week, you wouldn’t if you didn’t have some place like this. It’s absolutely wonderful.”
Also enjoying the party were Angela White from Cappa, Bansha, and Mary Kelly from New Inn.
Angela looks forward to attending the centre every Friday and has also been going since it first opened. “I can’t express it, it means so much to me,” she said. “I was quiet but now I make friends and I can talk to anyone. It’s absolutely wonderful.”
Mary explained she wasn’t able to work because she suffers from depression, and she found the days very long when she was at home, but since she has started attending the Day Care Centre she has a structure to her day and she said she loves meeting people. She has learned how to play whist, loves a game of bingo and enjoys the craft classes. “It has been like a lifeline to me.” Mary hopes that her husband will join her at the centre in the new year.
“The centre is a credit to Lil and all the effort she puts in, she tries to help us all whatever way she can. The staff are nice and helpful as well.”