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Age Friendly Donegal


Older Person's Council AGM 2019 


Older Persons Council Annual General Meeting


The Older Persons Council held their AGM on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 in the Mount Errigal Hotel at 11am. Despite the weather warning, there was great attendance from Older Peoples Groups from all over Donegal.


The AGM was opened by the Cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus O’Donnell, who spoke about the positive work being carried out by the Older Persons Council Donegal. He went on to talk about Donegal’s aging population and how important it is for agencies to continue to work together in making Donegal a better place to grow old in.


Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and Chair of the Age Friendly Alliance spoke about the Donegal Age friendly Programme, that the 3 year Age Friendly Strategy is currently being reviewed with the hope of launching it in the coming weeks.


Some of the projects he mentioned that were carried out were, the walkability audit in Letterkenny University Hospital, where new signage and the first Age Friendly Car Parking was installed. Letterkenny Town was the first age friendly town in Donegal with the role of the Business recognition training to all businesses. This is hoped to be extended across other towns within the county. Mr Neely mentioned that Age friendly training was provided to frontline staff in Donegal County Council and that the council launched an Older Persons information guide which was available to the people on the day.


Mr Neely spoke of the excellent work carried out by SITT. The Local Link bus has provided additional bus routes and services for Older People in the rural areas which allows them to get out of the house, and also the Donegal Age Friendly Programme, which is implanting real change in an imaginative and cost-effective way.


Seamus Neely expressed that his role on the Age Friendly Alliance group is one he enjoys. It is very positive work and it’s something in the long run that everyone will benefit from through their journey growing old in Donegal.  Mr Neely commended on the work carried out by the Older Persons Council especially joint Chair Gráinne Hines and Mary McGowan and finished off by thanking Charles Sweeney and Mairead Cranley, Donegal County Council for their work in implementing the Age friendly Programme in Donegal.


Reports were then presented by Joint Chairs Gráinne Hines and Mary McGowan explaining some of the projects carried out by the Older Persons Council. This included Intergenerational projects, engagement with the Health services for Older People and installation of Gym Equipment in Letterkenny Town Park. Ms Hines spoke about importance for Older People to come forward to have their voice heard, and not to be afraid of joining the Older Persons Council. Special guest Fergus Cleary also spoke and told jokes of his journey through life and what it’s like to grow old.


New members were elected to the Older Persons Council executive committee. The committee represent all different types of Older People’s Groups, Advocacy Groups, Younger Older People, Frail Older People, people that represents the voice for older people in Residential Homes or older people’s services in Donegal.


Older Person's Council AGM 2019



Walkability Audits

Walkability Audits


Under the Age Friendly Programme the Age Friendly Strategy 2019 to 2021 contains 73 actions across the eight WHO themes, when implemented will go a long way towards making Donegal a better place in which to grow old. Donegal County Council began implementing the strategy with two successful walkability audits being carried out in Dungloe and Donegal Town, these reports will be invaluable in ensuring our public spaces become more age friendly and the Council intend rolling out this initiative to all municipal districts It was important getting the older and younger people involved in this audit to identify the good and bad elements of Dungloe from a walking view point. 


People of all ages and abilities, young people, older persons, people with disabilities, pregnant women, parents with toddlers and buggies, wheelchair users and visually impaired persons were invited to help shape these towns to be Age-Friendly! 


97 Participants from Dungloe and 104 participants from Donegal town took part in this initiative.


Derek Whyte, Planning Consultant took the lead and explained to everyone what it was to look out for and asked that everyone took their time and enjoy the walk as well as observing everything around them. The people broke into smaller groups and walked 5 different routes of each town. School children and teenagers took turns in wheel chairs and were amazed during their experience of what it’s like for wheel chair users getting around Dungloe. Visually impaired people were aided around the routes and came up with some wonderful simple ideas that would help them. It became a social day for some of the older People, one lady in particular Suzie Boyle from Cloughglas, Burtonport aged 94, who was the oldest member that took part in the walk and she loved the social aspect of the day and asked “were we organising it again next week”.  


The groups observed, discussed and recorded all things identified to help make the towns accessible and Age Friendly Town. A report was put together from the findings identified on all routes and the groups with a view of having a plan in place for any further developments in the areas. It was a fantastic day enjoyed by everyone. Donegal Age Friendly Alliance would like to thank all participants for taking part in the Walkability Audit in both towns.




 Walkability Audit Donegal Town




 Age Friendly Donegal 2019

 Older Persons Convention 2019


Donegal Age Friendly Alliance invited guests to the launch of their 2nd Age Friendly Strategy on May 9th in the Central Hotel by Cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill.


Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and Chair of Donegal Age Friendly Alliance attended the launch Donegal’s 2nd Age Friendly Strategy on the 9th of May 2019. Mr Neely went on to explain the first strategy that was launched in 2015, contained 21 actions, and in implementing those actions, the Alliance, made up of organizations whose work has an impact on older people, has implemented practical projects that have had a positive impact on the lives of older people, and allows them to remain active members of their own community. Among the highlights over the past few years has been the Council’s social participation project, Donegal’s Choir of Ages “Ceol le Chéile”, age friendly public spaces, improving provision of public transport, the establishment of the Older Persons Council and an audit of Letterkenny University Hospital which in turn has resulted in it becoming more age friendly.


The new strategy contains 73 actions across the eight World Health Organisation themes and that Donegal County Council have begun implementing these actions with two very successful walkability audits being carried out in Dungloe and in  Donegal Town.


Moya Brennan, attended the launch and spoke about the traditions Donegal people have and the importance of these being passed on to the youth. Moya mentioned that she is always on the road working and living away from home but loves coming home and shared some fond memories of her younger years growing up in Donegal. She continued to say that she was delighted to see such great work being done for the Older Generation in Donegal and she will continue to support the Age Friendly programme for her own future coming home to Donegal.


Ms Catherine McGuigan, Chief Officer of Age Friendly Ireland commended Donegal County Council and Donegal Age Friendly Alliance for the success in completing the term of their first age friendly strategy, that Age Friendly Ireland are delighted to say under the new shared services agreement that they will continue to support and provide technical guidance like they do for all Age Friendly Programmes for the implementation of the new Strategy.


Cathaoirleach Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill spoke about since the establishment of the Age Friendly Alliance in 2014, Donegal County Council along with the other Age Friendly stakeholders have been working collaboratively to implement actions that meet our overall objective of making Donegal a better place in which to grow old and will continue to do so for the next three years. He continued to speak about the 73 Actions in the new Strategy and how proactive Donegal County Council are in having already started implementing them with the organising of the walkability audits which I was delighted to be a part of in Dungloe and Donegal Town. The numbers gathered for these two events proved to be the biggest walkability audits in Ireland, which goes to show the need and the impact of the Age Friendly Programme here in Donegal. Cllr O’Domhnaill officially launched the Donegal Age Friendly Strategy 2019 to 2021. AF strategy


Copies of the Strategy will be available soon online or contact Mairead Cranley Tel: 074 9153900 Email [email protected] if you require a copy.


Older Persons Convention 2019 new

Donegal Age Friendly



Intergenerational Projects January to March 2018 

Developing opportunities for older people to engage in social contact and relationships has been a key part of the Donegal Age Friendly Strategy due to its positive impact in enhancing an older individual’s health and well being. With the lack of opportunities available for older and younger people to meet and interact, Donegal County Council made an application and was successful under the Healthy Ireland Initiative fund to deliver opportunities to communities in an intergenerational approach that brings people together and promotes greater understanding and respect between generations.  Introductory workshops were held between a group of Older People and Donegal Youth Council to identify projects they could both do.  


The youth council chose different ice breakers to do with the older people and then the older people showed them how to play curling. It was agreed to do a few different projects and to spread them around the county. It started on St Bridget’s night in Dore, where the younger people of the area were taken in and shown how to make crosses and celebrate the St Bridget’s night tradition. The older people told stories about the St. Bridget’s night in hope that the tradition would follow to other generations. 


In the Letterkenny area we held weekly Dance classes where the older people and members of Donegal Youth Council were paired off as dance partners. There was great interest from the young and older people in the learning of the dancing steps. The two handed dances learned were Barn dance, long German, St. Bernard waltz, Stacks of Barley, Charlton swing etc. The line dances were Charlton cowboy and Electric slide. Cai, from the youth council showed everyone how the hip hop is done, but the Older people didn’t try that one. There was great fun and enthusiasm between both groups of ages in this project, some of the older ladies took a shine to their younger dancing partners. The intergenerational dancing proved to be a great social event along with creating regular exercise for everyone.


 Intergenerational Projects


Cooking Classes were held in Ionad Naomh Padraig, Dore and Donegal Manor House, Donegal Town.


Older People were paired off with the younger members from Donegal Youth Council. They shared and compared stories about equipment and ingredients they had and have to cook with now. They cooked old and new recipes; the younger people got to make butter using a jam jar. Pasta would be a very popular modern food which wasn’t introduced to the older people till the later years, both ages learned to make pasta from scratch. During these classes the bond between the Older and Younger people grew every week, on the last day Beryl (one of the elderly ladies) said, ”it was the highlight of her week coming to meet the younger people” Every cookery class ended with social chat and a food tasting of what they just cooked. On the last day afternoon tea was made by both groups and finished off the class with a sing song from both ages.


We are creating a recipe book of all the dishes that were cooked and stories that were shared.

Intergenerational Projects January to March 2018



Choir of Ages



Ceol le Chéile is an intergenerational choir made up of older people, children and young people, male and female from all walks of life in Donegal. This project was conceived as part of the Donegal Age Friendly Programme with the aim of promoting social inclusion and developing stronger relationships between older people, children and young people.  


Before Ceol le chéile came together we knew music was a wonderful and uplifting way of bringing people together. Since this group of people came together at their first choir rehearsal we have seen that the creation of this choir has had strong therapeutic benefits in terms of mental and emotional health for the people and families involved, along with great intergenerational learning and relationship building between both ages.


The choir have been very fortunate to have well known Choral Director Veronica McCarron working with us on this project.  Veronica’s professional conducting includes voice training, breathing techniques, elocution lessons, choreography and building the confidence to sing in front of others and this is done in weekly rehearsals. 

 First Concert


The Choir's success continues to grow as they perform in many different venues and visits to local nursing homes. There is a big commitment involved with joining Ceol le Chéile, rehearsals will be every Friday between the hours of 2pm to 6pm in the Letterkenny institute of Technology, Children’s rehearsals are worked around their school times.  


For queries please contact Mairead Cranley, Donegal County Council by email [email protected] 



This initiative was kindly funded by Healthy Ireland, Donegal County Council, Local Links Bus, Creative Ireland with valuable support from the Regional Cultural Centre, Donegal Library Service and LYIT.