As myself and my sister grew up we were counting down the days until we could become members of Foróige - a local hub to socialise with our friends after a hard week at school!
Throughout my childhood I had often heard stories of the great times that were to be had at the local Foróige club in my parish of Kildallan. During the 1980's my father was a leader at the club and often lamented on the adventures the club went on, the people he met and how much the youth of our area enjoyed attending the club, with particular emphasis on club outings and inter-club events.
My older sister Sarah joined the club first and I got to see first-hand how exciting it was to be part of the club as she got into her snow boots and denim mini skirt to head off to her first Foróige disco! In 2003, I had just turned twelve and it was finally my time to affiliate to the club. Myself and my friends from school all joined on the first day of the club year. The sense of welcome coming from the committee was very strong and assured all new members that there was a place and suitable activities to suit every individual in their club.
We met with our new leaders Tony, Brendan and Seán who were very welcoming and encouraged us to integrate with the other club members. We attended our first meeting which was hosted by an impressive committee of Foróige club members, supervised by our leaders. The committee gave us a taste of what would be in store throughout the Foróige year and encouraged everyone to participate in all activities.
We moved on from the meeting to play many different games which everyone enjoyed including pool, and indoor soccer. The radio was always at our fingertips with many people making mixed CDs to entertain club members and keep a youthful buzz about the place.
A few weeks in, it was time to attend my first interclub event. However, not only would we be attending the event but Kildallan Foróige Club would be hosting a Fancy Dress Disco and inviting clubs from all over Cavan to attend. The excitement around the club was electric and everyone got to work immediately to make this event a success!
Later we were joined by two new leaders, Veronica and Edel - finally some girl power! In true Foróige style they were both welcomed with open arms and the club were delighted to have them on board. I also stepped up to taking a committee position of Secretary where I kept the minutes of our weekly meetings and carried out other general secretarial duties. At this point Foróige had become the highlight of my weekend, spending time with my friends, making new friends and participating in helping our club to reach its full potential.
Being both part of the committee and a member has been such an asset to me in life-after-Foróige. It gave me experience in organising events, enhanced my communication skills, built my team spirit and encouraged me to get involved in local community events.
In November 2013, I graduated from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) Degree and currently practice as a Music Teacher and performer. At Foróige, inter-club events were held in variety of fashions ranging from talent shows, table quizzes and sports days to name but a few! So whether your forte was Music, Dancing, Football, Art, or just being great supporters, Foróige is a magnificent outlet for performing and displaying talents not only for me but for all members who wished to do so.
Recently Kildallan Foróige Club held a Gathering reunion for past members of the club, where I was delighted to be invited back to play as part of the entertainment for the night. It was a real honour for me and it proved that the sense of warmth and appreciation of the young people who attend the club is still thriving in Kildallan. Foróige can take great credit for helping those people of my generation to pave successful lives as the club stood as an outlet for them throughout their youth.
Looking back on Foróige, it was one of the happiest experiences of my school days and I applaud all leaders involved in keeping the club a thriving success. The club in Kildallan is a credit to our small community and deserve all the support they can get for providing a social hub for our youth to create memories and have fun throughout their schooldays.