Stroke Support Group Summer Outing

Day tripping along the Wild Atlantic Way – the best medicine!

By Annie Costelloe, Croí Health Programmes Coordinator

‘Breathe deeply of the sea air as you enter Rosmuc!’ Peter O’Malley proclaimed as Donoghue’s Bus rolled into Pearses Cultural Centre in Rosmuc, ‘There is nothing like it anywhere in the world’ beamed the proud Connemara man!

And he was right, we were on the Croí Stroke Support Group Summer Outing 2018, it was a stunning  day in the month of June, the sun shone brightly as we took his advice.  You can take the man out of Connemara but you can’t take Connemara out of the man! Peter knew every bump and hillock, he knew who owned every house and piece of land along the road from Maam Cross to Rosmuc and regaled us with stories to match, of weddings and wakes from bygone days and in between gave us a few bars of his favourite tunes as Gaeilge!


The Stroke Support Group summer outing has been a constant in the Croí calendar for many years now, recently the group have visited the Cliffs of Moher and the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar.  This year they opted for Pearse Cottage, now the Pearse Cultural Centre (Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh)  located in Ros Muc, in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht, on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Visitor Centre houses a fascinating interactive exhibition dealing with Pearse’s legacy and exploring the things that drew Pearse to Connemara: the area’s unique landscape and history, and the ancient Gaelic culture and language which is still alive in the area today. The building itself is truly a 21st century structure but respectful of its location and the landscape in which it resides. Inside we were treated to a mouth-watering array of pastries and cakes and the welcome aroma of freshly brewed tea and coffee provided by Martin and his staff in the café @maiziegourmet.  After we had enjoyed our repast, the group took some time to take in the interactive exhibition at the centre before taking a short stroll through the bog path to visit Pearse’s Cottage, which is just as he left it in 1915.

Then it was back onto the bus and off to the Coral Strand (Trá an Dóilín ) one of Connemara’s finest blue flag beaches. Sitting at the mouth Galway Bay, the strand is a series of small coves nestled between rocky outcrops. We eagerly hopped off the bus, pulled off our shoes and socks and spent a very enjoyable hour walking along the water’s edge, breathing in the Connemara air that Peter spoke of so highly.  Our very patient bus driver Joe eventually indicated that we had better get going if we were going to be in time for  lunch at the Connemara Coast Hotel!  Peter and Gerry led the sing song on the way to Furbo where we were warmly greeted by the staff at the Connemara Coast Hotel (@connmearacoast) and  served a scrumptious lunch with all the trimmings as we sat back and enjoyed the vista from the dining room and the serenity of the Wild Atlantic Way. Nessa Heaney captured the sentiment of the day as she toasted ‘good friends, camaraderie and beautiful Connemara…. the best medicine’


“It is the the little things that make a big impression and the Croí Stroke Support Group would like to say a big thank you to all who paid such attention to detail in ensuring that the group got maximum enjoyment from the day. Some of us do not move as quickly as we would like any more and living a life after stroke can mean that things take a little longer to do and in that regard Joe, our driver, at Donoghue’s Bus, deserves special mention,  he  is truly a gem, he was so kind and caring to the group.  Thank you also to Dáire and Martin and the staff at Pearses Cultural Centre and Café and to the staff and management at the Connemara Coast Hotel who looked after us a so very well.”
– Feedback from a member of the Croí Stroke Support Group.


The Croí Stroke Support Group meet at Croí House on the second Thursday of every month and new members are always warmly welcomed, call Jessica on 091 544310 for further information. 

2018 World Stroke Day

In recognition of 2018 World Stroke Day, we held a lovely tea party for our Stroke Yoga participants, Stroke Support Group and Stroke Communication Group. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared words of advice to help other survivors get #UpAgainAfterStroke.

Monica, a member of the Croí Stroke Support Group.

Monica’s husband Pat suffered a stroke on April Fool’s Day, 2014. “He has plenty jokes about that,” says Monica of her husband of 48 years.

“It was very difficult in the beginning after the stroke, but Pat was so determined. He had such a good attitude, but often took risks and that scared me. I was trying to keep him safe, but he was so used to his independence.”

Pat was told he wouldn’t be able to walk after the stroke, but following relentless therapy sessions, Pat got back on his feet and is doing really well. “While he was hospitalised, I would go for my daily visit after his physiotherapy session, and discover he had gone for a second session, sometimes a third!” says Monica.

Monica and Pat are members of the Croí Stroke Support Group, who meet every month at Croí House to chat and offer support to one another. “The group meetings are fantastic for both of us, for different reasons. Pat connects with other stroke survivors, learns from them, and offers advice from his experience. As well as the group meetings, Croí also arrange support meetings for the carers, or loved ones of stroke survivors, where we can chat about difficulties we encounter without upsetting our loved ones. The whole group also have different get-togethers outside of Croí, such as coffee mornings, craft sessions, knitting, etc., the main purpose being to chat… about anything other than stroke!” says Monica.

I meet with fellow stroke carers and we chat, knit or go for coffee, and Pat connects with other stroke survivors to learn from them and offer advice.”

Pat and Monica also took part in Croí programmes, including Croí MyAction, an intensive programme focused on healthy lifestyle changes. “We did everything together, and I found the programmes really helped me too! I needed to be well to be able to help him,” says Monica.

Pat and Monica’s words of advice for #WorldStrokeDay are that there is life after stroke. Every stroke is different, but it’s amazing what goals can be reached. Try reaching the best according to yourself to get #UpAgainAfterStroke.

Paddy, practicing yoga at Croí House.

Paddy suffered a stroke three and a half years ago, and since then has been very involved with the work and activities at Croí House. “It really changed my life. I come to Croí every Wednesday for the stroke survivor’s yoga class, and then every month for the support group. I can link with people who understand, and I feel comfortable in their company,” says Paddy.

Paddy’s recovery from stroke was not smooth. One year after his stroke, Paddy ended up in intensive care after an operation to remove a cancerous tumour. The operation almost re-activated his previous stroke symptoms and Paddy had to relearn how to walk again. “I worked hard to get back to where I am today. My mission is that I can walk into a room and no one would ever know I’ve had a stroke.”

Paddy is a regular at the Croí stroke yoga sessions, where Vicky Harkin volunteers her time as the stroke yoga instructor. “Vicky was born for this job. She’s the most enthusiastic person.” Vicky’s stroke survivor yoga classes are very popular and numbers have grown to over 30 per class.

Paddy’s words of wisdom for #WorldStrokeDay are to get involved with a network, like the Croí Stroke Support Group. There are facilities available. Even activities like going to the library or for a walk are forms of self-therapy. Get out and meet people – it will help you get #UpAgainAfterStroke.

  • Gerry, a stroke survivor from Co. Clare: “A positive attitude, watch your diet and regular exercise will help you get #UpAgainAfterStroke. Croí has been a great support for me and my family. ”
  • Christina, a stroke survivor from Galway: “Keep positive, keep busy and stay motivated. Plenty of physio / hydrotherapy and yoga will help you get #UpAgainAfterStroke. I found Croí’s neck exercises and meditation very good.”
  • Margaret, a stroke survivor: “Yoga and exercise classed will help you get #UpAgainAfterStroke.”
  • Frank, a stroke survivor from Galway: “Keep active if you can. Croí is a great facility. It helped me with yoga and having human contact helped with my recovery. Support is always needed.”
  • Delia, a stroke survivor from Mayo: “Plan your day with goals. Exercise and rest is so important. Croí has helped me physically, mentally and socially. I look forward to having more services in Ballinrobe, Mayo.”
  • Brian, a stroke survivor from Galway: “Do what you are told from the start. Croí yoga classes helped me get #UpAgainAfterStroke.”
  • Gwen, a stroke survivor from Galway: “Keep going. Croí has been just wonderful for my recovery.”
  • Eithne, a stroke survivor from Galway: “Get up, get dressed and go out.”
  • Andy, a stroke survivor from Galway: “Get up and
    about and be social. Croí’s exercise and yoga classes
    helped me get #UpAgainAfterStroke.”

Thank you everyone who shared their story for World Stroke Day.

The Croí Stroke Support Group meet at Croí House on the second Thursday of every month and new members are always warmly welcomed. Please call Jessica on 091 544310 for further information.