History of Ballinrobe Active Retirement Association (BARA)


In March, 2000 Ina Horan and Rory O’Neill met with the Development Officer for the Western Region of Active Retirement Ireland to consider starting a branch of the organization in Ballinrobe. 65 people attended the inaugural meeting on 10th April, 2000. The following committee was formed:

Chairperson: Rory O’Neill, Vice Chairperson: Kathleen Ryder, Secretary: Ina Horan Treasurer: Aidan Heavey.

Committee: Margaret O’Malley, Mary McConnell, Margo O’Shea, Mary Heneghan, Mary O’Hare and Des O’Kelly.


The weekly meetings took place at the Ballinrobe Parish Centre originally The Christian Brothers School and held every Monday morning, which continues to this day from September to June each year.

How can people join?

People can join during the year if they so wish with membership costing €20 per year or come along any Monday morning to the Parish Centre at 10.30 a.m. Activities continue until 12.30.p.m. Membership is open to men and women to join.

There is a weekly charge of €2.00 which covers expenses associated with a cup of tea/coffee, scone/biscuits, hosting Cluster mornings or having refreshments for Special Memory Days like Pancake Day, National Bealtaine Festival and Hospice Coffee Morning, Flowers, Mass Cards or Get Well cards. Presently we have 90+ members.

What do we do?

We participate in the ‘Go for Life’ programme and one of our members is a trained PAL tutor and guides the group with exercises to music first thing each Monday morning. This is followed by a Speaker or planned activity e.g. Table Quiz, Bingo, Chair Yoga, Song and Music mornings, Guest speakers and Information Workshops.

Many of the group take a 5 day holiday each year organized by the committee. Also many outings are organized during last term in late spring, early summer as the weather improves and also in September. Some short Community Education Courses take place as well.

Many of our group are Community activists and have been involved in various town initiatives over the years. There is a wonderful spirit of volunteering amongst us. We have a wealth of knowledge on local heritage/history within our group and we are a great resource to Ballinrobe’s other established Community Development Groups. We have a Writers group and Bowling group as well.

Examples of Community Element of our Group.

We promote our group as Independent, self-organized and are active members of Ballinrobe Community. We participate in local community networks as well.

We like to promote a positive ageing attitude in our community. This stops loneliness through friendship and support so we all can lead a full, happy and healthy life by participating in the many varied activities we organize for ourselves.

We believe having a theatre like The Linen Hall would be a wonderful inclusive facility as Ballinrobe has a rich history in Drama/Opera/Arts.  A local Heritage/Museum would complement the other.

Committee Members 2019

Chairperson:           Anna Conroy

Vice Chair    :           Betty Moran

Secretary     :           Lesley Munks

Treasurer     :           Josie Mercer

P.R.O.           :           Bridie McMahon/Billy Horan

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