Rostrevor Men’s Shed enjoys one of the most scenic locations of any shed on the island, nestled at the foot of Slieve Martin and lapped by the waters of Carlingford Lough. The nearby Fairy Glen is a particularly idyllic spot. Shed PRO, Gethin Hughes describes it as “the start of a pleasant walk with varied scenery, from gentle riverside to scenic parkland and woodland”.

It’s a beautiful environment and the public-spirited members of the shed would like to keep it that way. According to Gethin, shed chair Mark Gibbons has recently become aware of “a staggering amount of littering and fly-tipping along the banks and in the river itself”.

After discussing the matter at the shed, members took it upon themselves to organise a river and trail cleanup.

On Saturday, 14 April, Rostrevor Men’s Shed teamed up with Cloughmore Extreme Adventure, Love Your Lough, Jumping Clay and a number of local residents to restore some lost sparkle to this stretch of the Kilbroney River.

“What was pulled out of the river was shocking,” says Gethin. “Among the rubbish were bikes, scooters, a PC monitor, a bed frame, fishing lines and hooks, cans and bottles, a ram’s skull, plastic bags and an old walking boot.”

Mark Gibbons added: “It’s an unacceptable blight on our landscape. The beautiful Fairy Glen shouldn’t be used as a dumping ground.”

While the day’s work was, in some ways, a sobering and dispiriting one, Mark finds solace in the enthusiasm of the locals who rallied to the cause.

“I was extremely delighted to see such a fantastic turnout of volunteers to help with the cleanup, in particular from so many young people and families with their children. They are the future of Rostrevor and to see them taking care of their environment was truly touching”, he concludes.


Another shed getting active in its community is Thomastown Men’s Shed. Frank Delahunty, shed member and IMSA shed support volunteer for Co Kilkenny, has been in touch with news of a pioneering initiative.

The Thomastown Age Friendly Committee is a body run under the aegis of Kilkenny County Council and tasked with making the area an age-friendly town. A key component of age-friendliness is “walkability” – the ease with which older or mobility-impaired individuals can navigate the town without encountering obstacles and impediments.

The members of Thomastown Men’s Shed were enlisted to carry out the walkability study and its findings will be presented to Kilkenny County Council with a view to devising an action plan. The action plan will outline the measures that need to be taken to make Thomastown age-friendly.


Back to Co Down for our final update this week, where the conservation bug has spread to one of Ireland’s newest men’s sheds – Portaferry Men’s Shed on the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula.

The shed recently threw open its doors for the first time, after a long and arduous process of preparation, and is already deeply involved with a number of community organisations and initiatives.

Philip Johnston of Portaferry Men’s Shed informs us that the shed is embarking on an exciting and unique project in conjunction with the National Trust this summer – a squirrel survey.

Shed members will create stock-feeding stands linked to cameras which will allow researchers to study the numbers and behaviour of squirrels in the area, as well as the relative numbers of grey and red squirrels. Portaferry Men’s Shed operates from the Presbyterian Church Hall on Meeting House Lane and currently opens on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

If you want to join, contact Philip at