Living life to the full with the aid of an Irish Guide Dog

Donnacha mc

Posted on: 1st December, 2015

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

Donnacha McCarthy (25) from Drimoleague suffered a rapid loss of sight at age 10 following a battle with leukaemia, leaving him in “total darkness” within a matter of weeks. He began working with Irish Guide Dogs as a teenager, learning to use the long cane and independent living skills as part of the organisations ‘Child Mobility Programme’.

“They taught me how to deal with the loss of my sight, in particular how to move around safely with the help of a cane,” Donnacha explains. “I suppose if I’d been older, it may have been harder to come to terms with, but at that age, I had no major plans made that were disrupted by losing my sight.”

For a blind or vision impaired person using a long-cane is a good way to get out and about safely and independently. A long-cane helps to detect objects and obstacles such as bins, stairs, kerbs and tactile paving, thereby giving the user greater confidence when walking.

“Things like signs and sandwich boards on footpaths do make life more difficult,” says Donnacha.

Donnacha was always aware of the positive experiences of other Guide Dog owners and that convinced him to join the waiting list for a Guide Dog soon after he was eligible.

“I knew I wanted to go to college and move out of home after finishing school and I definitely needed the help of a Guide Dog to do that,” he says.

Since being matched with Holly in 2008, Donnacha says his life has been transformed. With Holly’s help, it was possible for Donnacha to live in Cork City while completing his four-year honours degree in Business Information Systems at UCC. He then moved from Cork to Dublin and took up full-time work. He’s also a member of the Blind Football Ireland squad and regularly trains in Dublin with Holly waiting patiently on the sidelines.

After losing his sight, playing football was one of the things Donnacha missed most and he got involved in the blind version of the game, as it presented him with an opportunity to “play the beautiful game once again”.

An extremely skillful and fast-paced game, Blind Football is played on a hard surface using a ball with bearings in it to allow the ball to make a noise and give the players the chance to know its location. It is a five-a-side game with all four outfield players fully blind, wearing eye patches and blindfolds to ensure no light gets in. The two goalkeepers are fully sighted.

“With the help of Holly, I can be much more spontaneous; I don’t have to plan a journey, I can just head into town or meet up with friends,” says Donnacha. “She has given me the confidence to go out when and where I want and to live life to the full.”

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is Ireland’s national charity dedicated to helping persons who are blind or vision impaired and families of children with autism to achieve improved mobility and independence.

Over 80 per cent of the organisations income comes through voluntary donations and fundraising through a network of volunteers across the country.

For more information, to volunteer, fundraise, donate or visit the online Irish Guide Dogs Christmas Shop visit www.guidedogs.ie.

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

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