New alcohol-free social group, Sober Sallys, takes Galway by storm

Some of the Sober Sally’s participants enjoying the book swap in Eyre Square on Monday, May 22.

Some of the Sober Sally’s participants enjoying the book swap in Eyre Square on Monday, May 22.

Created by Faye Ní Dhomhnaill, Sober Sallys, is a group that aims to provide a social alternative to alcohol focused events and venues.

At the helm of the recently established group is recent graduate of University of Galway, Ní Dhomhnaill, who found herself growing tired with the focus on alcohol in Galway’s social scene. Having previously worked in hospitality in bars, Ní Dhomhnaill has seen both sides of Galway’s bar scenes and the focal point that is often the only form of young people’s socialising -- drinking.

“In Galway it is like going for a pint is the answer to all situations. You’re sad? do you want to go for a pint?, you’re happy? do you want to go for a pint?, you are celebrating something? do you want to go for a pint? It’s constant.”

Her lightbulb moment about creating the club came following her starting a new job in Meltd, a sandwich shop on Middle St which is open until the late afternoons, resulting her now having the evenings off.

“I have always worked in bars as a bartender and it was only since I started working in Meltd, I would have evenings off to socialise and see my friends and it always seemed to end up with us drinking. With the good weather we have been having drinking has become even more of a focus because straightaway everyone wants to go for a pint.

“Recently there were two or three whole weeks where I was drinking a lot and I didn’t feel one bit good for it. I was constantly hungover and just felt horrible. It wasn’t that I could not see my friends without drinking, but it was like drinking was what we ended up doing because there is not a lot else to do.”

When a mutual friend on Twitter established Canadian based group, Sober Babes Vancouver, it inspired Ní Dhomhnaill to set up her own group, and thus Sober Sallys was born. She tested the water initially on social media, expecting just a few interested enquiries and within a day there were some 300 people interested in participating in sober events and a subsequent Whatsapp group was created to help organise and highlight events.

“Initially I thought no one would be interested in the group, I had visions of me and two friends in a group with me typing updates like, ‘I am going for a coffee’, but I’m astounded it took off and I am just so excited to see what comes of it. It will be exciting to see where it goes and I have had people in Cork and from abroad get in touch interested about the idea.

“As the saying goes, if you build it they will come.”

The group’s first event, a book swap, took place in Eyre Square last Monday, and Ní Dhomhnaill has visions for future events and is seeking feedback from those interested in participating.

“I have a Google form set up and have been continually sharing it to find out what people want to do and what they want from Sober Sallys. Overall, the feedback I have been getting from people is that a group like Sober Sallys has been wanted by many people, but they just needed someone to facilitate it.

“Some of the events I have in mind are based off what people have said, some want to do something involving craft, others want to do all the same stuff that you would do while drinking, like going to pubs and playing games, so I am getting varied ideas about what to plan for the future.”

“Over the next few months, we could have a Sober Sally trip to Connemara or a craft night, it all just depends on what people would like to do and the feedback I get.”

At the moment, it is just Ní Dhomhnaill who is steering the sober ship, with the plan being to be add more to the core team as needed, but it is still in the early stages. Life will get even busier for Ní Dhomhnaill in the next couple of weeks as she takes up the position of Convenor of College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies for University of Galway’s Students Union.

For those interested in joining Galway’s new sober social sensation, you can get in touch with Ní Dhomnaill through the Sober Sally’s Twitter and Instagram pages, the link for the Whatsapp group is available on both social media profiles.


Page generated in 0.4690 seconds.