disABILITY Louth held the Closing Event of Breaking the Mould on Tuesday 11th April at the Highlanes Gallery Drogheda, attended by some of the groups that were involved in the programme, together with members of disABILITY Louth Steering Group, Louth Local Development, Louth County Council and Major of Drogheda Michelle Hall.

It was one of the last chances to see Artwork on displays which has officially closed on 15th April.   Mayor Michelle Hall addressed the audience along with Dara MacGabhann of Louth Local Development who both spoke highly of the Exhibition and inspirational achievement the Exhibition had on everyone involved.   Focusing on the ability rather than the disability, promotes self worth and accomplices a full-filling, inclusive social, cultural and economic activities for everyone

Annette Monaghan co-ordinator started by saying thank you all for coming here this morning, to this prestigious Gallery, to mark this momentous occasion and to say farewell to an extremely successful ‘Breaking the Mould’ Exhibition.

The feedback from visitors including the groups coming back to do workshops and as far as England has been marvellous with visitors expressing it was “fabulous, joyous Exhibition …..and great community work”   The diversity and colours of all the Artwork are amazing.

This as we all know, wouldn’t have been achieved without the participants, 34 in total some of whom are in attendance here today, Irish Wheelchair Association in Ardee and Roc Services Drogheda.    I’m told the whole experience from the 16 weeks art programme to the Exhibition stage was thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding by everyone involved.   To learn and engage in new art textures and techniques under the guidance of the four tutors has been life changing for many who were involved.    One participant expressed that the overall experience was very relaxing and he could use his hands more and it was very therapeutic.

For those working behind the scenes, I’d like to say thank you to our Chairperson David Larkin, disABILITY Louth committee, Dara and Louth Local Development, Aoife here in the Gallery and her colleagues, the tutors Caoimhe, Goda, Maureen and Nicola, Videographer Patrick McCabe and our funders Louth County Council, (with Finbar Getchins in attendance) without you all pulling this together for the participants and showcasing their Artwork,  sending a message far and wide, that tearing down barriers and Breaking the Mould to include people with disabilities is in no doubt promoting equal opportunities and ensuring a full and effective participation and inclusion in society for our disabled communities.

And lastly to the participants and everyone involved in the 4 groups, thank you all so much for allowing us to work together and achieve the first ever Exhibition by persons with a disability here in County Louth.  Annette congratulated everyone and read out the following poem commissioned for disABILITY Louth by local poet Anthony Matthews.

The Event was closed by local musician Paul Gantly who sang  “Happy While I’m Alive” which he wrote specially for the Exhibition.


Breaking the Mould


Selflessness, silent unsung heroes hardly mentioned, recall

Contributions, influence on others help stand and feel tall.

Graced with a spiritual compassion seek nothing in return

But betterment the situations from which some were born.


Short sixteen weeks, made such difference to many lives

Escape from Covid, feeling anxious, alone so empty inside.

Representative forum flowered amid many hearts of Gold

Then blossoming, blooming began by Breaking the Mould.


From the burning embers of Covid, an institution was born

Singing ‘Happy While I’m Alive’, so different from the norm.

Opportunity to erase isolation, expressing freely through Art

Remember, every situation presents the potential to restart.


Promote, represent, develop, engage, for all people there

Recognising the ability in disabilities, inclusion, self-care

Thanks to those who give their time to improve one’s health

Often poor in pocket, your work, home to authentic wealth.

By Anthony Matthews