Miriam O’Callaghan hosts guests including Jason Smyth, John Treacy and Sports Minister Jack Chambers
Just like we opened, we closed MayFest 40 with the electric sound of Steely Dan’s Reelin’ in the Years with firecrackers and rockets everywhere.
Just like we opened, the first words from our host were “Oh, I love that music!”.
On Friday, 7th May, we loved Miriam O’Callaghan and her golden hour of amazing guests.
Out of the blocks faster than Jason Smyth was Sports Minister Jack Chambers. Jack spoke of our safe but gradual return to sport and made it clear his door will always be open to Vision Sports Ireland.
John Treacy, Olympic Marathon silver medallist and head of Sport Ireland never used starting blocks. He was impressed by how Vision Sports hop over hurdles using with guide/buddy programmes (Vision Sports Pass-Sport).
Our President Prof. Michael O’Keefe has a modest background in rugby to compliment his extraordinary career eye surgery. He thanked Miriam O’Callaghan for accepting his invite and giving of her time so generously. He seemed impressed by the progress made by Vision Sports, especially in recent years.
Then came the 10 second man, the legend that is Jason Smyth. Thankfully, he stayed with us for nearly as many minutes as his 21 gold medals. Jason advised that to advance we must surround ourselves with those better than us. Hard for some but easy for most of us!
Jason headed a panel that included 11 years old sports loving Freddie Wallace, accompanied by mum Allison. After saving his pennies Freddie was just a little short to purchase “only the best” treadmill. He applied successfully for a Vision Sports equipment grant and now he won’t stop running!
At Miriam’s invite Jason came back to chat with Freddie. Not only did Freddie, the pupil, listen to the master, he has attended Jason’s training sessions to see how it’s done.
Now Miriam started counting as Limerick’s new teen star Roisin ni Riain popped up on screen. Seven medals! 15 years old Roisin explained she won the medals when attaining qualifying standards for the Paralympics in Tokyo. Yes, being in Transition Years was helping the training!
Vroom, vroom, Mayo’s motoring pride Sara McFadden joins our drive-in show. Any plans for the summer Sara, asks Miriam. “I’m gonna work with Vision Sports,” says Sara “I was on placement there all spring and I loved every minute”. Sara knows to say the right things!
History was made when Senator Martin Conway stayed on mute for 5 seconds! But Martin is always worth waiting for and he regaled us with his wonderful stories and advice on his new fitness mission. 30 minutes exercise a day, he tells us, and we all can do it.
We could have done with 30 minutes, maybe 30 times over with new friends Pam Pennings and Petrina Finn. Both experienced sight loss – Pam recently, Petrina much earlier in life – and both have found sport through Vision Sports Ireland.
Pam and Petrina loved MayFest and gave us whistle stop tour of the week that was. From the smells and sounds of during nature mindfulness to bouncing pots of the ceiling it was all there.
NCBI Group and Vision Sports Ireland Chairperson (almost) had the last word. Paul loved it and thanked all. He made special mention of the Vision Sports team: Aaron Mullaniff, Padraig Healy, Joe Geraghty, Kristina Millar, and Sara McFadden.
Miriam O’Callaghan had the last word and she wished us success for the next 40 years.
40 years over then, another 40 years just begun.
Incase You Missed It
Just incase you missed it or even if you enjoyed it as much as we did and you want to watch it again, you can watch the full closing ceremony below.