Christmas Carol Sing Along

Why not come and join in on Saturday and help us spread a bit of festive fun.

“Lighting Up Minds and Hearts: A Story of Giving Back

As the festive season approaches, the twinkling Christmas lights in Bagenalstown offer more than just a visual delight; they serve as beacons of hope and support for mental health awareness. This year, a remarkable initiative has taken shape, intertwining the spirit of the holidays with a profound dedication to mental well-being.
John Gladney, a proactive member of the Bagenalstown community, has embraced the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way. Having experienced personal struggles and overcoming them with the assistance of mental health services, John felt impassioned to share his journey and help others in similar situations.
Reflecting on his own experience, John reached out to the Carlow Mental Health Association, initiating a collaborative effort to disseminate crucial information about mental health during the Christmas light display. A dedicated space has been set up to provide visitors with valuable insights, breaking down stigmas and offering support to those who may need it.
“It’s something very important in our house,” John shares. “I was lucky enough to avail of services when I felt lost and broken. Now, we’re offering this platform to ensure others don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about seeking help.”
The display is not just about the dazzling lights; it’s about illuminating the path towards understanding and support. Alongside the visual spectacle, a donation bucket has been set up to gather contributions for the Carlow Mental Health Association. John emphasizes that even the smallest donations can make a significant impact, potentially changing lives and providing crucial aid to those seeking support.
John Gladney’s journey is an inspiring testament to the transformative power of support systems and community engagement. His willingness to share his story and collaborate with an esteemed association demonstrates the resilience and compassion necessary to create positive change.
“Thank you, John Gladney, for sharing your story and creating awareness of the importance of looking after our mental health,” expresses the Carlow Mental Health Association. “We are delighted to work with you on this important initiative.”
As the Christmas lights shine brightly, they serve as a reminder that within our communities, there exists a network of compassion and support, ready to embrace and uplift those in need.
This heartwarming initiative exemplifies the true essence of the holiday season—spreading goodwill, fostering understanding, and lighting up not only the streets but also the conversation of Mental Health for individuals within the community.”
A link to the Go Fund Me page can be found here   


Fundraising Headshave and Waxing event

This Friday, December 1st, there will be a fundraising Headshave and Waxing event in The Good Room at Scraggs Alley Carlow from 8pm. Some heads and beards will be getting the chop for charity.

Funds on the night go towards Carlow Mental Health Association and Castleblayney Cancer Society. There will be a raffle on the night with lots of prizes from local businesses.

Live music will kick-off at 10pm with MÓR. Call on down and be part of a great night.


Grief and Loss Event Cancelled

Unfortunately due to ill health, our event with Carlow Union of Parishes is cancelled. We wish Revd. Paul a speedy recovery.

Grief and Loss

We are delighted to partner with Carlow Union of Parishes for this event and are looking forward to listening to Revd. Paul’s experiences and wisdom.

A Face in the Crowd: Breaking Mental Health Stigmas on Stage

On Tuesday October 10th, World Mental Health Day, the Discover/Recover Theatre project brought the powerful play ‘A Face in the Crowd’ to life, shedding light on the often-misunderstood world of mental illness. Crafted by the talented Niall O Muiri, the performance intricately weaves the stories of four individuals navigating the complexities of life with enduring mental health conditions.

Hosted in Visual’s George Bernard Shaw Theater, the Carlow Mental Health Association (CMHA) extended a warm invitation to all Transition Year programs in County Carlow secondary schools. Throughout the day, students were captivated by the emotional journeys depicted on stage, gaining valuable insights into the diverse experiences of those living with mental health challenges.

The visionary project received support from the Carlow County Development Partnership’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). Their funding allowed CMHA to bring this impactful production directly into schools, breaking down barriers and fostering a deeper understanding of mental health issues among the younger generation.

But the commitment doesn’t end with the performance. Recognizing the importance of continued dialogue, mental health workers conducted follow-up workshops with the Transition Year programs in the following two weeks. This interactive session aimed to address any questions the students may have had, promoting open conversations and eradicating the stigma associated with mental health.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Discover/Recover Theatre, Niall O Muiri, CMHA, and the support of the SICAP programme, ‘A Face in the Crowd’ is more than just a play—it’s a catalyst for change. By bringing mental health discussions to the forefront of educational spaces, this project is sowing seeds of empathy, understanding, and resilience for a more compassionate future.

The Vault on Tour

Saturday October 7th , The Exchange in Carlow played host to a remarkable event as part of Mensana Fest 2023, organized by the Carlow Mental Health Association (CMHA). The vibrant atmosphere at The Vault on Tour session was a testament to the power of music and the incredible talents of the local teenagers. The theme of youth, which CMHA has been actively championing throughout the year, took center stage, showcasing the transformative impact of music on mental well-being.

The Vault is part of Carlow Regional Youth Services ( CRYS ) where they provide direct programmes and services for young people at risk and support young people by putting their agendas on the agendas of the decision makers. CRYS provide a wide range of services and opportunities through community based youth work programmes, drop in, specialised services for young people at risk, and leadership training. A big thank you must go out to Mick and Jimmy for organising all the equipment and the running order for the show.


The event kicked off with a captivating performance by Shannon Basso Gaule, a Carlow comedian who delivered a crucial message to the attending teenagers – it’s absolutely okay to embrace and be true to oneself. Shannon gave his time to reach out to the teenagers from the vault. The stage was then handed over to the real stars of the show – the talented teenagers who had been eagerly waiting for their moment in the spotlight.

The diversity of talent on display was nothing short of staggering. From the electrifying beats of rock to the soulful melodies of folk, and from the harmonious sounds of acapella to the enchanting notes of the violin, the performances showcased the rich artistic landscape within the local youth community.

What truly made the event memorable was the sheer joy radiating from the faces of the teenage performers. Throughout the week leading up to Mensana Fest, these young individuals had been anticipating their chance to shine. The moment finally arrived, and as they took the stage, the room lit up with enthusiasm and positivity.

With over a hundred people in attendance, the crowd became an integral part of the experience. The exchange of energy between the performers and the audience created a sense of unity and encouragement. Each artist was met with resounding applause, and the support extended to every act was a testament to the appreciation for the hard work and dedication invested in their performances.

The infectious energy emanating from The Exchange didn’t go unnoticed. Passersby’s who may not have initially planned to attend were drawn in by the lively sounds and vibrant atmosphere. Though unable to stay for the entire duration, they were treated to some unforgettable performances that undoubtedly left a positive imprint on their day.

Mensana Fest 2023’s The Vault on Tour session at The Exchange was more than just a musical event; it was a celebration of the talent, resilience, and creativity of the local youth. The transformative power of music was evident in the beaming smiles and confident strides of the teenage performers, leaving a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of everyone present. This event serves as a reminder of the incredible potential within our youth and the importance of providing platforms that empower them to share their voices and talents with the world.