Ireland's model retirement community

“It was a moving and sad occasion for the people of this parish as they turned out in great numbers to honour the departing nuns...” So wrote Kathleen Laffan in her History of Kilmacow.

She was referring to the concelebrated Mass, on 25 June 1986, when the Presentation Sisters withdrew from the convent and school where they had served the parish since 1898.

rosedale3It was the sincere wish of the Presentation Sisters that the convent should continue to meet the needs of the community of Kilmacow. There were several ideas about how this could best be done. Before long, a committee representing parishioners approached Bishop Laurence Forristal of Ossory, with a request to make the property available as a centre for the care of the elderly of the area. The committee would see to the financial management on a non-profit basis. The Bishop readily agreed.

MMM was asked to provide a community to oversee the day-to-day running of Rosedale. On 9 January 1987, barely six months after the Presentation community had gone, the convent was empty no longer!

rosedale2Sisters Fidelma O’Shea, Louis Marie Brett and Bernice O’Neill arrived in Kilmacow in the thick of a blizzard. Water pipes had frozen. The committee were embarrassed because there was no running water. Sister Fidelma was coming from Malawi, Sister Louis Marie from Nigeria and Sister Bernice from Angola. A village without water was nothing new!

The name Kilmacow is said to be an anglicized form of the Irish Cill Mhac Bhuada, meaning the Church of the Son of Buadach. Others suggest the origin as Cill Mochua, of the Church of St. Mochua. The village is beautifully situated in the southernmost part of Co. Kilkenny, on the banks of the river Blackwater, a tributary of the Suir.

You could say Kilmacow is not on the road to anywhere really, that is, geographically speaking. It never needed a ‘bypass’ because the main roads to Waterford and the towns of south Tipperary bypassed it anyhow!

Nevertheless, the people of Kilmacow always knew where they were going! Even though the original village population has now grown to a parish comprising 650 families, Kilmacow has a dynamic community spirit that could be envied anywhere in the world.

rosedale_liam_dalton_noreen_smythThe parish weekly bulletin lists contacts for Irish set dancing with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri, St. Senan’s Athletic Club, Kilmacow Hurling & Football Club, Soccer Club, the Shanti Tug o’ War Team, the Kilmacow Youth Club, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Macra na Feirme, the Health Clinic, and of course, the local correspondent for the paper everyone reads – the Kilkenny People.

rosedale_agnes_m_josie_corcoranAmong such a vibrant community, it was not difficult for MMM to put down roots. Sisters involved in Rosedale over the years have been a happy bunch. The parish built a new bungalow for the MMM Community, just behind the main residence.

Rosedale is not a Nursing Home but a Residence for Senior Citizens. In the central house, each has his or her own bright, cheerful room. Just across the lawn there is a crescent of sixteen bungalows, some with one bedroom, some with two, for single people or couples who can manage on their own – once they have the security of knowing there is someone to call in a moment of need. Day or night, there is always someone close at hand to answer the intercom. Even if you don’t call, the Sisters visit the bungalows regularly and know who may be in need of a little extra care. Residents who are well enough might stroll down to the village hairdressers just beyond the gate, or pass an evening hour in the village pub and stay in touch with social life of Kilmacow in this traditional Irish fashion!

rosedale_residents1Even those who are unable to go out to the village can experience the ‘buzz’ of life around Rosedale. The parish primary school is located right at the entrance. You can hear the children at play. You can join parishioners for the many activities in the parish hall adjoining the grounds. One of the parish Sunday Masses is celebrated in the Day Care Centre at Rosedale, which brings the village community right into the midst of the Rosedale community.

rosedale_parish_fundraising1Residents are drawn only from the surrounding area, so they have family and friends who drop in to see them. There is an independent Admissions Committee comprising parochial and medical officers. Each admission is considered on its own merits, with medical assessment. Catering and caring staff are also drawn from the local community which adds its own special warmth. The Management Committee and the MMMs leave no stone unturned to ensure that Rosedale is truly a ‘Home from Home’.