‘People think of a hospice as a sad, dark place, but it is very lively and positive’: Woman flies coffee to Aran Islands for hospice fundraiser

A woman’s charity event for her local Hospice is set for take-off – as she helps to fly coffee out to the Aran Islands for Ireland’s biggest coffee morning

Featured on: Independent.ie

Catherine Mulkerrin, who lives on Inis Mór, has been running the fundraisers for over 20 years – and insisted Galway Hospice is vital for those who do not want to die on the mainland. 

She is now asking the rest of the nation to host a similar fundraiser for Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice on September 22 – which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. 

“The Hospice has always been important to us because many people don’t want to die on the mainland,” said Catherine, 52. 

“I see nurses regularly landing here on the island in the morning by plane to attend to someone who is dying. 

“Often people think of a hospice as a sad, dark place where people go to die, but it is a very lively and positive place with a multitude of services for those at all stages of illness, and their families.  

“You don’t feel in any way that you are intruding. It’s so peaceful. But if you want to die at home on the island and if it is possible, the Hospice services will make it happen.” 

Catherine Mulkerrin, on the way home to Inis Mór from the Galway mainland via Aer Arran, has been running Bewley’s Hospice coffee mornings for over 20 years . Coffee morning packs containing Bewley’s coffee, posters and invitations are flown to the island for the event. Catherine is asking people to register to host a coffee morning on Thursday, September 22 as part of the Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice at www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie or by calling 0818 995 996. Pic: Andrew Downes/xposure.

Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement, represents 26 Hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families nationwide.  

Funds raised locally go back into each local hospice service, helping to pay for medical and general staff, palliative care beds, home care visits, specialist equipment and new hospice builds.   

Anyone around Ireland who can host a coffee morning is asked to register at: www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie or call-save 0818 995 996. 

In Inis Mór during the pandemic, the local coffee shop offered the use of their coffee machine to provide take out coffees and people could sit outside to comply with social distancing regulations. 

“Often, they don’t realise that they are the very people who may need the service for someone that they love – and someone that may not have the skillset themselves to look after in their final days,” said mother-of-one Catherine. 

“Residents of an island can sometimes feel isolated, so it’s terrific that they are doing their bit to make sure that the Hospice services can be accessed here.  

“There was one elderly lady on the island who only really came out of her house for the coffee morning. When her niece drove her here after the shopping, her eyes lit up.  

“The poor woman died of cancer since, but her niece still comes here each year and donates money in her memory and that’s what the coffee morning is about. 

“A dying person is on a lonely journey but the Hospice makes them feel like someone is with them every step of the way.”

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