Alan Scally, Eileen McArdle and Megan Scally at the Mullingar Arch Club stand.

‘Get Back Clubbing - Join A Youth Club!’

An expo at Columb Barracks on Saturday served as a taster and a learner event for Youth Work Ireland Midlands (YWIM), as they are planning to hold more of them, including in some of the smaller towns and villages across Westmeath.

Eileen McArdle is Rural Clubs and Volunteer co-ordinator with YWIM and she organised the event with Gerard Keena, who runs CoderDojo Mullingar and also volunteers with the Mullingar Charity Variety Group. Gerard is also a board member of YWIM, and it was from working on those various commitments that the idea to hold a showcase event for youth activities was born.

The Columb Barracks event was called ‘Get Back Clubbing – Join A Youth Club!’, and the plan is to get things moving as we come out of the pandemic restrictions, Gerard told the Westmeath Examiner: “We want to get clubs going again, so there are two things – to let everyone know what clubs are available in Mullingar, and for the clubs to enrol people. It’s also to try to get a bit of a buzz and noise going again, to get a bit of momentum started again.”

Eileen said the Mullingar expo was a response to the widespread closures of youth clubs of all sorts, and it was open to any youth or community group. Planning for the event began three months ago, and the organisers were hoping that Covid restrictions would have eased more by now; they were pleased with how the day went, however, and look forward to organising more similar fairs, probably in Rochfortbridge and Ballymore, as well as Athlone.

If you would like to find out more about the ‘Get Back Clubbing – Join A Youth Club!, there is information on the Youth Work Ireland Midlands Facebook page; or contact Eileen McArdle on 086 3294763; email; or Faustina Monaghan on 087 2727867; email

Joan O'Connor, Geraldine Lacey (CEO) and Eoin Quinn from Youth Work Ireland Midlands. Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Tyler Donoghue, Thomas Mount and James Scally at the GAA stand. Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Orla Flynn (Westmeath County Council Community Section), Ursula Harper (Westmeath PPN) and Brigid Geoghegan (Westmeath PPN) on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Fionla Colgan, Mental Health Ireland, and Julia Smyth, Mullingar Mental Health Association, representing One Million Stars at the Hello Westmeath How R U Stand Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Faustina Monaghan from Youthwork Ireland Midlands and Gerard Keena from Youthwork Ireland Midlands and Coder Dojo Mullingar. Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Claire Gough from Westmeath Macra na Feirme. Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Rosemary and Amira Scally from Mullingar on Saturday. Photo by Thomas Gibbons
Tia and Rachel Donoghue from The Yoyo Club. Photo by Thomas Gibbons