Irish Artist Cian McLaughlin in the Aisling Office

Irish Artist Cian McLaughlin in the Aisling Office

Irish artist Cian McLaughlin visited the Aisling office to present a cheque for 15,000 euros, raised from the sale of his paintings. Pictured are Aisling support workers John [centre] and client with Cian [left].

Another Photo from Aisling's Latest Trip to Mayo

Another Photo from Aisling's Latest Trip to Mayo

See the full story below 'Human Kindness Overflowing' for the background to these photos...

Photo from Latest Aisling Trip to Mayo

Photo from Latest Aisling Trip to Mayo

Photo from latest Aisling trip to Mayo...

Human Kindness Overflowing

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IMG_1249_bhoys.jpg

Things work out well in Mayo on Aisling’s latest trip to Mulranny, the centre of emigration support and welfare. Alex McDonnell reports.

Sometimes things go just right. There is no way of knowing how or when the world is about to turn to our advantage but when it does the wheels on the wagon turn smoother and everyone’s smiles are broader. Well almost everyone.

Margaret has had a tough life and there seems to be no sign of her world turning more smoothly. We hoped that a trip back to Ireland might do the trick and her daughter Mary hoped so too. The wheels on Mary’s wagon needed some oil as well as nothing seemed to be going right for her either and maybe a trip would do them both good. They sat behind me all the way to Mayo on this trip while I was driving and I could feel odd moments of disapproval and frosty silences tingling in my shoulders on the long drive. It is a hard journey for someone Margaret’s age and she is not a well 70-year-old, she has a lot of health issues and is used to feeling disappointed and discomforted and does not always bear it stoically – and why should she? Still it made for a less than happy journey for her.

Artist Cian McLoughlin Auctions A Painting For Aisling

Artist Cian McLoughlin Auctions A Painting For Aisling

This painting is being auctioned in Dublin at the Molesworth Gallery on 28th November in aid of Aisling. It is of one of Aisling's famous clients - Johnny 'Pops' Connors.

You can see more of Cian McLoughlin's paintings of Aisling 'clients' at his website, where he states:

Pat the Wire, Pops Johnny, Forty Pints, Terry from Derry, Gerry from Kerry Who Thinks He’s from Derry, Jimmy H from Clare, Tom ‘the Lady’ Delaney, Tony C and Sean M from Ballina, BBC Joe, Kerry Denis, Lumpy Tom and Hairy Mary, Donegal Pat, Squinty Mick, Holyhead Tom. Irish men and women in Camden.

Aisling Running with the Dolphins in Kerry

Aisling Running with the Dolphins in Kerry

...Eventually the weather abated for long enough for us to go out in the boat but only around the bay. As we got to the mouth of the bay the sea was tempestuous and the skipper retreated to safer waters. Because of the weather we were on the ever popular dolphin watch or Funghi Forage. With the decline in the fishing industry most of the fishermen now subsidise their income with trips out to see Dingle’s famous friendly dolphin and he never disappoints. A short time out into the bay and he was chasing along the side of the boat jumping and playing in the surf. Not bad for a 40 year old.

Picture from Recent Aisling Trip to Kerry

Picture from Recent Aisling Trip to Kerry

On the recent Aisling Trip to Kerry some of the returnees managed to get out and about on a boat...

To Kingdom Come

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Alex McDonnell reports on the latest Aisling trip to Kerry where homecomings and leave-takings were a cause of joy and sadness.

Outside the Irish Centre in Camden we were loading up the minibuses with the returnees who had arrived for the trip to Kerry. We were already half an hour late and four of the clients and one volunteer worker were missing. We asked around the group if anyone had seen the missing lads recently, Donie for instance? ‘Donie already went home to Kerry…he came into a bit of money and off he went on Wednesday’, said Maureen. What about Sean ‘Well Sean won’t be coming if Donie isn’t going’ she said. No-one had news of Jim or Richard and we couldn’t wait much longer. Besides ructions were kicking off at the entrance to the Irish centre function room.

The manager was having harsh words with a young black man and many other black and beautiful men and women were milling around looking pretty distressed. As we left the police were arriving…it looked like the fashion show wouldn’t be happening after all. Later we were waiting for Aonghus, Aisling secretary and volunteer for this trip, outside Camden underground station and the models and fashion people were turning heads as they disappeared into various Camden pubs and restaurants. Later on the M4 our outreach worker Charlie Conquest received a call from a hostel in Kilburn where Richard used to stay: he had turned up there after falling asleep on the bus to Camden. It was too late to turn back for him but we would make sure he made the next trip to Mayo in December. As it turned out there was to be a return of sorts to Kerry for Richard.

Our Homes in Donegal

Our Homes in Donegal

"Three of the men with us had been with Aisling on previous trips but none had been back to their home counties in many years. We often find that returnees need their first trip to be well away from their home town or even their home county and the three had wanted to stay well away from home on the first trip but had begun to have thoughts of going home in the time since. Tom was the fourth man, an Arlington House [hostel] resident who had dropped out of sight of his family, as many of the men there do.

Aisling Trip to Dublin and Kildare

"The crossing was a bit rocky but safe and we arrived at the cottages in Courtown safely and even managed to make it to the local shop to stock up on supplies before it shut at nine. Before we set off, the Irish centre in Camden had asked us if we could give a lift to a client of theirs whose mother was very ill and needed to get back to Kildare. When we collected him at the centre in the morning his brother and the brothers’ girlfriend were there as well and they were all pretty drunk, it seemed, after an all-night session.

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