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Book of memories created to mark closure of Cregg House, Sligo

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Daniel O'Donnell was a welcome visitor to Cregg House.

Daniel O'Donnell was a welcome visitor to Cregg House.

Country singer, Daniel O'Donnell with a Cregg House resident.

Country singer, Daniel O'Donnell with a Cregg House resident.

Some residents of Cregg House.

Some residents of Cregg House.

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Daniel O'Donnell was a welcome visitor to Cregg House.

sligochampion

A special book of memories has been created as part of a celebration to mark the closure of Cregg House later this month.

On Sunday September 26th a special day of celebration will take place at Cregg House with invitees looking back on the facility’s 66 year history.

The Sisters of La Sagesse came to Sligo in 1955 at the invitation of the Department of Health to establish a residential centre for person with an intellectual disability.

The centre grew over the years from being able to house 24 residents to seeing the establishment of a nursing school, the establishment of St. Cecilia’s National School, and the opening of community group homes connected to Cregg, which now totals 39 across Sligo, Leitrim, and South Donegal.

To commemorate the closing of Cregg House, a special book of the memories of both staff and service users has been compiled to show what exactly Cregg House meant to people;

One service user has been at Cregg House since 1968. “Cregg is a lot different now than when I first arrived. There was only the Big House, the wards and just a few small buildings.

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“The school was being built at the time and was only at foundation level. There was a big farm, orchards on both sides of the driveway and glasshouses and the woods.

“I am now 72 years old and have lived in Cregg for 42 years and have lots of memories such as Christmas and Easter times when a lot of the residents would go to their families and those of us who stayed in Cregg had great times.

“At Halloween we got dressed up in fancy dress and frightened the wits out of each other.”

Another resident remembered how their initial home sicknesses was soon abated.

“We used to sit up in our beds chatting till all hours. During the day we all had to be up early to attend school. After school we would go to have dinner and afterwards we had to tidy up. I always enjoyed helping out any way I could, we were given chores to do, sorting the laundry etc. Soon I began to love it in Cregg. I made loads of friends which really helped with my homesickness. Soon I settled into Cregg with the love and support from not only my friends but also staff. They built up a support group for me, any help I needed they were there for me. Not only did I become part of their life they became part of mine. I have lovely memories that I like to share with staff and I am able to have a good laugh.”

For others Cregg House gave them opportunities.

“I have learned so much here in Cregg. I learned how to read and write, I love writing letters to people and receiving letters from people and finding the news. All the staff in Cregg who have supported me and drove me on over the years to become the person I am today.”

For some, the decision to live in chalets or within the community was an important step in their lives. However, they will never forget their time at Cregg House.

“I am really happy living in my current home but I have some lovely memories living in Cregg House, the people I met and the friends I made.”

One resident talked about their cherished memories

“One of my favourite memories was when my beloved, my favourite singer Daniel O’Donnell came to visit everybody in Cregg House. He was so lovely and I was lucky enough to give him a hug and a kiss and get my photo taken with him, I will cherish this memory forever. XX”

For staff past and present the closure of Cregg House will be a nostalgic day.

“I came to Cregg House over 20 years ago. Cregg House reared me. Minded me like a china teacup, nurtured me like a child and loved me as part of a family. I have unbelievable memories of fun and true life long friends. I have grown into the person I am today because of Cregg House. I will always be grateful and appreciate everything Cregg has given me. I can honestly say it was the best years of my life. Truly unforgettable place in my heart.”

Another member of staff described Cregg House as a place of love.

“A special place that inspired hope and contributed to the happiness and well-being of so many in its care by providing the best attention, practices and love to all that lived there down through the years.”

Finally, a nurse who received their training at Cregg House expressed their feelings through poetry.

“Twas in 1984 our journey began,

twenty young ladies a bag in each hand.

Dropped at the door, our families away,

Evelyn and John we started the next day.

From syndromes to psychiatry, anatomy to psychology, we studied and studied, we were to be their next prodigy.

Long shifts day and night in between our exams, our three years did pass with our diplomas in hand.

Some of us journeyed to countries beyond, others remained closer, but we held that Cregg bond.

Our nursing career was to bring comfort and opportunity, to develop oneself and Care for residents in our communities.

Now many years have passed, we have loved and lost, we reflect on those memories, the tears that we have dropped.

Today is about the work we all have achieved, the residents and families and all who believe.”


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