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An overview of  2016 – 2017


2016-2017 has proved to be another busy and fruitful year for The Glens and Dalriada U3A. Our convenors, as always, have generously given their time and expertise to enthuse, give enjoyment, entertain and impart skills to our members.


The Monthly Meetings have been particularly well supported and the wide variety of topics has ensured there was something of interest to most audiences. We had informative and entertaining lectures from two of our members, Frank and Teresa, as well as visiting speakers.


As usual, The Choir and The ‘Palaver’ Group entertained at Christmas with the panto ‘Three Little Pigs’ and at the 10th Anniversary dinner with readings and songs on the theme of ‘Schooldays’.

At the dinner, we were delighted to welcome Mary and Joe McFadden, our inspirational founder members, and make a presentation to them on behalf of us all.

Our fame has spread in the community and we are offering a bit of outreach. 

Following on from last year’s 1916 celebration in word, slides and song, the U3A was asked to repeat the presentation for the Glens of Antrim Historical Society in January and for Cushendun Development Group’s ‘Big Arts Weekend’ in May.


The Choir also sang Christmas Carols in Cushendall Fold and Glendun Nursing Home. ‘Living Well Moyle’ had us perform on two occasions. The choir has had yet another request to participate in a Concert during Cushendall’s Festival week in August. Regrettably, although we hosted the U3A Regional Songfest in 2016, we were unable to take part this year as it coincided with our Anniversary Dinner.  However, it’s already in the diary for April 2018.


The Bridge Club continued to meet on Wednesday afternoons in Ballycastle Golf Club and organised an enjoyable outing to Dublin in May, playing bridge on the train. On arrival members were free to visit Museums, Galleries, Theatres or just shop! New members are more than welcome. Contact Kathy O’ Donnell for more information.


Kathy also convenes the Cinema Group which met on a number of occasions to see notable films. As the films offered locally are quite restricted, Kathy would like the group to consider travelling further afield e.g. Queen’s Film Theatre or other Belfast cinemas.


The Computer Course, catering for all abilities, took place on Tuesdays in Ballycastle Golf Club. The course was wide-ranging, encompassing basic familiarisation with the laptop ports and progressing to use of internet, emails, social media and photography. Next year’s course will begin in January 2018. For further details and to enrol, contact Gerry Colohan.


Patrick O’Donnell has revived The Golf Society. An outing to Ballycastle Golf Club took place in June. Future outings are planned for Bushfoot, Cushendall and Kilrea. Novices and experienced players are equally welcome.


The ever popular History Talks given by Frank Rogers on the last Friday of the month, were well supported. This year Frank covered the Irish Famine, the Fenian Movement, Irish Genealogy (Sean O'Halloran), the Life and Career of Charles Stewart Parnell, The Gaelic Revival, the Russian Revolution, the Home Rule Crisis, the Easter Rising and the Creation of Two States in Ireland.

On 15th June a group of 46 members went on a most enjoyable trip to Derry and the Seamus Heaney Centre.

Another well patronised outing was a September tour of Heaney Country conducted by Eugene Kielt of Magherafelt. It was very well organised and delivered. We were conducted around sites important to Heaney. An informative and enjoyable day was had by all.  


In  October 2016 our Holidays Convenor, Eileen McAuley, organised another memorable Croatian trip – this time to Dubrovnik. We enjoyed the wonderfully scenic Dalmatian Coast, visited the old town’s places of interest and walked a considerable part of the walls. We also enjoyed trips to Mostar, the town of Kotor in Montenegro and the resort of Cavtat. Hotel, guide and group rapport were all excellent and an enjoyable time had by all who participated. This year, our group will visit Northern Spain in September 2017. 


Just recently formed, the ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ will continue to meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month. The first outing was to ‘The Red Door’ in Ballintoy in June and July’s lunch will be in ‘The Manor House’ on Rathin Island. Before each outing the convenor, Andrea McCormick, will email all those who have expressed interest.


Also newly formed this year is The Theatre Club (Convenor- Helen McKeown). Members have had seven visits to the Theatre in Belfast. Travelling by train to all events they saw a contemporary adaptation of Chekov’s play ‘The Three Sisters’, two plays by Marie Jones (“Christmas Eve Can Kill You” and “Sinners”). The English National Ballet Company enthralled them with the magic of “Giselle” and they finished off this season with “Not Dead Enough” by bestselling author, Peter James. They have enjoyed lunches and dinner either before or after the performances when the ‘craic’ was as entertaining as the theatre but most important was the shared friendship and fun together.


It is important to keep active in retirement and to this end our members enjoyed a variety of pursuits. Eleanor Duff’s Walking Group on the last Wednesday of each month enjoyed a varied programme of walks including an overnight visit to Bray, travelling by train. Walks were about 3-5miles long and of course were followed by a tea/coffee stop and natter.


Yoga and Pilates also proved popular and beneficial to health and fitness as indeed was Bowls.  If you were up for something more strenuous then Badminton might have been your game of choice.  


To keep the mind active Rosemary Aitkenhead’s Monday Mah Jong sessions in Cushendall Golf Club offered an alternative to Bridge.


Table Tennis was popular in previous years so perhaps some enterprising member would like to revive it.


Popular too was Zumba Gold but finding a suitable venue proved impossible in 2016-17.


Nimble fingers were kept busy through Rita Cassidy’s Crochet Group and Peggy Hunt’s Needleworkers. We wish Peggy ‘bon voyage’ on her return to England and thank her for her ten years of service as Convenor of the Needlework group and willing helper to the Glens and Dalriada U3A.


Inevitably interests wax and wane, illness strikes or people move on to other things and places, so our list of activities alters. Gloria Hassall has decided to discontinue Ceramic Painting.     Art Appreciation may not be a regular feature either. Thanks to the Convenors of these groups. We wish them well for the future.


Indeed many thanks to all our volunteer convenors and our Committee members who work with enthusiasm and energy to provide stimulating and varied activities for our members. Thanks are also due to Danny Beaven who looks after our website so efficiently.


We are now in our tenth year of existence and are still strong and vibrant, refusing to give in to old age. So here’s to the next ten years, may they be as enjoyable as the first ten!

Mary Blaney



"U3A gave me a chance to expand my interests and learning"

© Glens and Dalriada U3A (2014)