Search Results for 'Leonard Shiel'
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This club is one of Galway’s treasures. It was founded in 1940 by Fr Leonard Shiel SJ at a time when there were no after-school recreational facilities for working class-area boys in the city. The Jesuit Community gave them the use of a clubhouse at the back of the Columban Hall and here the boys were involved in many activities that helped prepare them for life. They were taught loyalty, self-respect, how to help others, and the importance of team spirit. Much of this was through the medium of sport — soccer, swimming, boxing, Irish dancing, table tennis, snooker, etc.
When President Michael D Higgins, officially opened the new Our Lady’s Boys’ Club clubhouse in 2015, he said: “Like so many successful community initiatives, OLBC was founded and built on vision, a spirit of participation and a will to make a genuine and positive difference to the community. When Fr Leonard Shiel SJ established a club in 1940, I doubt that he realised just how enduring his vision would be. Today, OLBC is the longest running youth club in the country and has woven its way into the fabric of community life in Galway, welcoming members from many neighbourhoods including Shantalla, Westside, Ballinfoyle, Rahoon, Corrib Park, and Newcastle.
This club has been a source of guidance and inspiration to the youth of Galway, especially those of working class background, since its foundation by Fr Leonard Shiel SJ, a priest of great vision, in 1940. Indeed this wonderful structure owes a great debt to the Jesuit Order. Since the beginning the club has been based behind the Columban Hall in Sea Road. From the first nervous day of membership, right through their teens, and even in adult life, the spirit and ever watchful eye of the club is with the boys.
“Our Lady’s Boys Club has taught me three things. First it has taught me a better knowledge of my Religion and its principles; secondly it has taught me to seek to improve myself, and thirdly it has taught me that real happiness is to be found in helping others rather than in seeking self.” These words, spoken in 1960 by a young man who had grown up in the club and was by then a member of its committee, summed up beautifully the work the club has tried to accomplish since its foundation in 1941.