History of the Ballaghaderren's Men's Shed

About the Shed

The shed dates back to the 1930s. Its location was used as a repair and sales garage of motorbikes and cars in the 2nd world war. Kenny and Staunton were the garage operators.
In 1970, Woolworths had a shop on the main st. It was managed by Gerry Clarke. The shed was used as a store for this shop.

Over time the shed had other functions but primarily lay idle for many years, and was used in a personal capacity by the landlord. For a building of its age it has stood the test of time. The outside walls were poured with mass concrete , and a proper galavinsed roof was added in later years.

While it was a relief to have a premises , a much bigger challenge lay ahead. For it to be a building that would offer enjoyment, comfort, and a happy space, all types of obstacles lay in our way. Obviously being a charity and supporting our male population , finance was a worry. We had the men that could do the work , we had access to professionals for advice on what works were necessary. We set about calling a meeting with our main ambition of coming up with a plan of how to generate interest in what we wanted to achieve and setting a target.

A Go FUND ME PAGE was set up by 2 daughters of a member. From their home in Spain they drove the campaign and people were very generous. This early injection of cash allowed the process of renovation to start. Heating the shed was a major worry and was very costly. After being refused funding for this application, we were delighted when RCC found the necessary capital at a later stage ,  and allowed this necessary installation to proceed .

A special mention for our outstanding Landlord. All through this process and right up to now Nov 2020, we have always worked very closely with him, and taking his advice on board with any concerns he has had on the building and its functions going forward. The building was just literally a shed , now its so much more and is very much a home.

Founding the Ballaghadereen's Men's Shed

The Ballaghaderreen Men’s Shed was founded in September 2017 by Pat Towey (Chairperson) and a small group of men that form the nucleus of the present committee. Cyril O’Connor was elected secretary and Tom Colleran Treasurer. The shed had no premises, no funds and very few members. Now just three years later the shed has a premises, some funds and 40 to 50 members. A building off Main Street near the Market Square in Ballaghaderreen was acquired and renovated to a very high standard by two retired tradesmen. They were aided and abetted by shedders with various other skills and a willingness to provide an acceptable shed for the members.

The Men’s Shed received grants to renovate the premises from Roscommon Co. Co. Without this funding,  there would be no premises and therefore no Men’s Shed. The new committee appealed to the Ballaghaderreen Diaspora for much needed extra funding to provide the shed with basic equipment. They were not disappointed and the tools and gear in the shed today is testament to that generosity.


The members engage in fundraising on a regular basis i.e. bag packing in the local SuperValu and church gate collections. The shed depends also on donations and sponsorship from local businesses. Carpentry, wood-turning and copper and metal work are some of the many skills practiced in the workshop.


The shed is open to facilitate any member wishing to come in during the day to learn, teach or practice new skills. The upstairs room is used for meetings, discussions, courses, computer work (the shed has a range of refurbished computers) pool, cards, conversation and general craic. Members meet every Tuesday night for two hours. The programme varies from week to week but members enjoy a cup of tea, a game of cards, pool or a sing-song when no formal programme is arranged.

Social Inclusion

Getting to know the neighbours.

Following a meeting in Newry Co Down where sheds from  all over the island of Ireland were represented we had the pleassure of having good chemistry with Portadown Mens shed.

 There was a family connection with a local lady residing in Portadown, and this little bit Of information instantly made a positive connection .

On March 16th 2018, a group of 12 travelled south and were greeted in Ballaghaderreen with open hearts. The evening was most enjoyable and following a tour of the town and a visit to some local establishments, we enjoyed a memorable eveing in the shed with delicious food, folklore, and stories long into the night.

For these lovely men from the North, they were truely in awe of the warm welcome they received. As was mentioned many times to them , a shed environment is non judgemental, and we are all members of sheds at the end of the day, standing shoulder to shoulder.

Martin Sharkey on behalf of our shed made a presentation  of a beautifully inscribed Wooden Fountain Pen to Gerry  Hamill from Portadown.

Cutural Integration

Our shed were delighted to acknowledge and welcome the Syrian community into our home. In the early days of our shed set up to 6 men joined our meetings in the Ozamon Day care centre, where their favourite game was Chess. While we have good players our guests excelled at this board game.

We also introduced them to the very talented Music Teacher and broadcaster Ms Mildred Beirne, who showed them the basic steps of the seige of Ennis. For the Irish lads it was a challenge. Not sure what our guests thought of it, but nonetheless they enjoyed the experience.

We were invited down to the EROC centre where Jane Casey a very talented writer shared her memories of life growing up in the area. We had a large gathering in a communal hall, where many eager eyes surveyed strange faces. It is our intention to work along with the management of the EROC centre and encourage men of all ages to share their skills and life stories.


Impact of COVID-19

At the start of COVID

Before Covid 19 the upstairs room was a hive of activity every Tuesday night from 8  to 10 p.m. Christy McCann would always finish the evening getting the men to join in a sing song. Covid 19 brought all activities to a sudden halt.

The men kept in contact with the use of What’s app and other social media sites. Phone calls were made regularly and videos,  jokes, puzzles etc. were shared regularly on the Shed’s What’s app group.

Unfortunately not all members were using smart phones and there is no doubt that this period greatly affected some Shed Members.

Some Shed Members were active in the making of a film called ‘Reaching Out’ to reach out to all members of sheds in Ireland and all over the world. The film was made during a very difficult time for our shedders.

Social distancing was adhered to at all times. We are now meeting outside in various local areas around Ballaghaderreen. As well as a brisk walk we are learning the local history of the various townlands of the area.

Our catchment area covers the three counties of Roscommon, Mayo and Sligo which encourages lively banter on the merits etc. of each county and their respective football teams.


Tus Scheme

In collaboration with RCC our shed has benefitted greatly from placements. The scheme works as follows. Individuals are accessed for paid roles in the shed with their skill base used to commit to a 19 hour week.
We are very grateful for all the assistance and a special mention to those who have used their skills to play a pivotal roll in shed revonations and IT development. Also we appreciate the role their project manager contributes to the success of the scheme.


Provide a step by step guide to a shed set up with ongoing support to assist with best practices. Its up to each shed to plan and implement their vision for their members.

The National Association offer advise across all platforms and are instrumental in the development and life of a shed. They appoint Shed volunteers to assist sheds in Counties around the country.

One of our members is a support volunteer covering counties Sligo/Roscommon/Leitrim /Cavan. His role is to support sheds and to liase with the iMSA on behalf of its members.