101 things to do in a man's shed
The Men's Shed Movement is catching on in Ireland, and is making a real difference
I had cause recently to visit a Men's Shed or, to be more precise, I was in the Newtown and Newcastle Men's Shed in Co Wicklow. Actually, I should be flattered I was allowed in, as Men's Sheds are generally female no-go areas. But I was warmly welcomed, by a great bunch of lads, who showed me around the premises.
This Shed is a relatively new venture, only on the go for a few months - so it's impressive what they've achieved in a very short space of time. There's a bursting veggie garden, a chicken coop, a thriving workshop area and a self-built extension - already added on to the original shed to cope with the large numbers of men who have joined since it opened its doors in February. But Men's Sheds as a movement have been popping up all over the country for the past few years - and I'm a big fan.
We don't have a tradition here in Ireland of men going for coffee together, like they do in Italy. Or playing boules together, like they do in France. So, in communities here, there aren't many inexpensive places for men to get together to talk, or even not to talk, with other men. There may be sports clubs or golf clubs, but they tend to be the domain of sporty or wealthier middle-class men, and so the ethos and the expense exclude many others, whether that's intentional or not.