May Fest Talk Fest

Today was the first official day of the May Fest weekend, but the second day for me.

When i first got up, i fed Ushi and discovered that the church was open even after 9 o’clock. So hopefully that means there is grass if i’m stuck and Ushi needs out later than 9 o’clock. The receptionis said they could even walk out with me to the grass if it’s quite late if i need them to which is good.

I had a bowl of Porridge and a yogurt for breakfast. The restraunt was lovely and quiet at that time of the morning which was kind of nice. I was off on the scrounge after breakfast though, as i had forgotten to pack toothpaste. There is always something you forget though when you’re going away. Thankfully the room next door were happy to lend me a squeeze.

I got a taxi from the hotel to
Child Vision
Where the sports conference i wanted to attend was going to be held. I was going to walk over, but the hotel receptionists weren’t sure how safe the roads were and that. I was panicking a little though as the conference started at 10, and i was afraid of missing anything.

When i arrived, the receptionist at Child Vision rang through to the
Vision Sports Ireland
As that was where the conference was taking place. I arrived a couple of minutes late, but thankfully the conference had just started. We got registered and headed in to sit down.

First of all, we listened to the chair of Vision Sports doing an introduction to the conference and explaining the order of the day. The president of Vision Sports was then talking about his role as an eye consultant in the past and how important sports were for children. Next, there was a presentation all about Judo for visually impaired people. While people were registering, there was a demmo of the Judo going on, so there were judo mats all over the floor. This was presented by Dublin judo club. They then did a question and answer session. Next, an organisation called the Cara Centre. They were explaining about week long camps they run called Camp ability. This is only for visually impaired people. The camps start from 10 to 14, before the children can become volunteers and leaders after that. The camps are full of different activities and sports. The children also learn how to cook with camping stoves. It sounds like great fun. We have something similar at the Share centre in Fermannagh, but this is more where you can book activities and is for everyone. It’s not really a camp as such. It certainly created a lot of interest.

Next, it was a lady from The on site equesrian centre. I thought this was very cool indeed. I loved horse riding as a child, but i haven’t been in years. Child Vision caters for not only visually impaired people, but also children who have editional needs. They have quite a number of services:a pre school for 0 to 6 i think, then they have a primary school, a secondary school and a vocational school which is for 16 to 22 year olds. They also have occupational therapy, residential service where children who can stay over i presume if they live too far from the school. They also do speech therapy and have nurses to cater for the medical needs of the children. They also have the equestrian centre. They teach the children to carry buckets for the horses, as well as teaching them how to groom and look after the horses. They also teach the children how to help out in the stables. The horses are great for helping with the childrens posture and things too. I must admit, i was hoping we could have a ride, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. I’d have loved to have been on a horse though. I’ll have to get going at some point.

Next, it was time for a coffee break before someone from the National counscel for the blind spoke about their services. Next, was a demmo of a sport called Snag golf, which is golf with sounds. It teaches children how to play, and the balls are bigger and softer than normal golf balls. There are also sounds to let the children know if they have scored or not. This was hosted by Snag Golf Ireland. Next, Parolympics Ireland were talking all about Reo and what it would be like for the athletes and things.

Next, it was something to do with Sports and funding so i kind of lost interest a little. Next, was a lady from Sport Ireland all about finding local sports for people i think.

It was lunch time after this, and we were all ready for it. We had tomato soup and sandwiches. After lunch, we were all called outside to see a demonstration of blind football from the FA and blind football Ireland. The football area is smaller than a normal pitch. There are barriers up all around to help orrientate the players. All the players are blind folded to make it a level playing field for players. The ball has ball bearings in it. The only sighted people are the refferee and the goal keeper i think. They will shout different words to the players to help them stay orientated i think. Everybody got a go after the demmo was done. It was pretty cool. One of us went in at a time and the goal was tapped so we would know where it was. It was quite cool. We only have a partially sighted football club for partially sighted people here, which is different to the blind football and it’s only for boys :(.

We headed back inside after to listen to a presentation on VI Tenis. This weekend is the first time Ireland will launch the VI tenis. This was by Tenis Ireland. The ball is big and soft, and has ball bearings in it again. I’ll get to try that out tomorrow so that’ll be interesting. Next, it was someone from the Watch club in Newery, which stands for Walking and tandom cycling and health. He was from RNIB NI so it was good to hear a familiar voice from up here. A lady from the Cork walking group was up next talking about some of the walks the group do and how they get their guides and that for the group.

Finally, it was a demmo of Table cricket. This is mainly designed for people in wheelchairs. We all got a go at this too. It was wrapping up time and thank you speeches after that.

A couple of us were looking to go back to Drumcondra to get busses and whatever, so a lady from the National counscel for the blind took us as she was heading that way anyway. We were going to get a taxi as there was me with Ushi and two cane users. The taxi for some reason was going to send a 7 seater taxi because of Ushi, so i don’t know what the craic was with that. We decided after discovering it hadn’t left the depo after about 10 minutes, that we would just walk from Child Vision to Drumcondra. The lady guided one of us, while me and the other cane user walked on our own. Plus it gave me a chance to get some toothpaste on the way lol. We got a bus to Drumcondra station, and then walked to the NCBI head quarters where the others went their separate ways. The lady then walked me to where the hotel is.

The conference was very interesting, but it was a very long day. It was the first time the conference had been held so i think it went well. Ushi is wrecked the poor girl. When i got back to the hotel, i had my dinner which was a burger and chips, and then i fed Ushi. She is dreaming away on her fleece mat that i brought with me. I’ll probably head out for her last toilet break shortly i imagine.

I’ve noticed here that you are encouraged to be independent. For instance, we have been told what bus will take us to the sports events tomorrow which will be held at the ALSAA. Not only have we been told what bus to take, but how to get to the stadium and how to get to the bus stop. It is quite cool. This will be where Ushi will really come in to her own, as we’ll be getting the bus totally on our own. I’ll ask at the reception tomorrow just to make sure i’m heading in the right direction. I’m looking forward to it.

I think i will post this now and head bedward shortly. It’s been a long day.