Next Branch Meeting

The winter 2019 meeting of RTAI Wicklow was held in Tinakilly Country House on December 11th. Details of the spring/summer meeting 2020 will be posted here as soon as they become available.

Launch of Walking Group - Inaugural Walk, March 4th, 2020

We have had very positive feedback to our request for expressions of interest in our Walking Group for RTAI Wicklow members . John Connor, Chairperson and Stephanie Mc Donald, vice chair have both been working on it and are ready to launch with the first walk on March 4th.

Venue;  Devils Glen, Ashford assembling at 9.45 for a 10 am start. Stephanie has kindly offered to lead this walk

Clothing; Please wear appropriate walking gear, have walking shoes or boots, rain-gear and walking poles would also be helpful

Snacks; Everyone should bring their own water and chosen snack

Sign in: All  Walkers will be asked to sign in at the start and sign out at the end

Meeting Point:The carpark at the entrance to the wood at 9.45 as already stated

Dogs: No dogs are allowed for reasons of safety

Meeting: We hope to have a brief meeting at the start to chat about. / frequency of walks / walks in south /north/ east or west Wicklow / Best day for walks /leaders for walks / walks that would be suitable for all members

People will also have an opportunity to discuss the above topics while walking and report back to John and Stephanie to assist with future planning.

We are really excited about this new venture and look forward to walking and trekking through the Garden Of Ireland

If you need any clarification on any of the above please  contact John at johnconnor3101@gmail.com or on 0860824318

If you intend walking please contact John  by email so that we will have an idea of the numbers involved.

I hope the weather will be kind and that we have a good response on the day 

As secretary I , on behalf of all members , thank John and Stephanie for starting up this group  and wish them well

MIck O’Callaghan, Branch Secretary

For Your Diary - save the Date! - May 12th, 2020

The branch plans to go on a guided historic tour of Blessington with Paul Tyrrell as guide.

This will be followed by a tour of Russborough House and gallery with stops for refreshments and Lunch in Russborough.

The walking element will be low.

So now all you need to do is put May 12th 2020 on your laptop or tablet  phone, calendar or diary,whichever takes your fancy.

Full details will be published in the new year


Wicklow Branch AGM – Secretary’s Report for 2019

As we come to the end of another calendar year I look back on the objectives we have achieved together and feel a great sense of pride and gratitude. I often ask myself what is the purpose of RTAI Wicklow and I am sure you all have your own thoughts and ideas. We play a multi-faceted role for our members. We have a social and support role. We keep in touch with fellow retirees. I am always grateful to be able to work with such a great group of people, trying to improve our conditions in pension, quality of life and social life. Two years ago we set out to develop a contact information system for our members in order to store e-mail addresses and phone numbers for all members. We now have 214 members, 190 of those with e-mail addresses receiving regular correspondence. 


So what did we do during the year to improve our member’s lives? We started off the year in Feb with a committee meeting to plan the year’s meetings and tours continuing the theme of annual cultural tours and health talks for our members. On March 4th and 5th, Kitty O’Connell and myself attended the Convention in the Gresham Hotel, which was very stimulating and enjoyable. On Tuesday May 7th as part of our West Wicklow meetings we went on tour to the Japanese Gardens and National Stud. This was a lovely summer day. There was a great social aspect with a nice meal in the beautiful Japanese Gardens Restaurant followed by some retail therapy in Kildare Village. On June 12th for our health promotion talk we had Sabina Brennan in Tinakilly House who gave a very thought provoking address on keeping our brains young, preventing dementia, and improving our physical and mental health. 

September 18th and 19th I was in Dublin for the Secretary’s Conference in the Gresham Hotel to keep us focussed on issues affecting us. On Sept 26th we had a Committee meeting to plan the Dail tour, Christmas dinner and looking at planning for 2020 events. On October 16th we had coffee and culture in the National Art Gallery followed by a grand tour of the Dail. We were lucky we had such a beautiful summer day and had a nice time in the Dail and restaurant. This was a particularly relaxing sociable day for, friendly chat and getting to know people and of course the odd photo with TDs on the plinth of the Dail finishing with another bit of retail in the Kilkenny Shop. On December 11th we continued on our health promotion with a talk by Gaye Godkin, Consultant Nutrionist on eating properly as we age to stay healthy.



It was a very busy year with lots of e-mails, phone calls and newsletters and trying to recruit recent retirees. If you know of any retirees please encourage them to join. They can get a form from me or go to the rtaireland.ie website and press join on the home page. We need all the newly retired teachers to become members to keep the branch alive and vibrant.



I would like to thank my wife Margaret for her constant patience and advice and being my general editor. I thank the branch committee for their support and in particular to Eibhlin Kinsella and Kitty O’Connell for their patience dedication and thoroughness in everything they do. 

 I thank you the members for all your courtesy and support and your willingness to come out to events and meetings and really enjoy yourselves. I thank Billy and head office staff, Siobhan and Patricia and our National website manager Mick Mangan who makes sure our webpage looks well at all times

Billy has been and is a dynamic transformational leader. You just have to be inspired by his energy and enthusiasm. He has turned RTAI into a modern forward thinking organisation raising the profile of retired teachers and their pension conditions. It was Billy who spearheaded the forming of RTAI into A Company Limited by Guarantee, which protects us all in the work we do. I post any new notices on our Wicklow Branch page on the www.rtaireland.ie website so I ask you please you follow that for accounts and photographs of past events and any future events we have planned.



Finally, I ask you the members to remember for a few moments those members who died during the year: John Fleming Feb 13, Monina Nagle Wicklow, March5, Maureen Doyle Roundwood, March 28 Ann Lott Arklow May 24, Con Cunningham Bray June 7th Teresa Mc Carthy, Arklow September 13, Frances Allen Donard, October 24th.


Suaimhneas siorai ar a nanmnacha uilig.


Wicklow Branch held its AGM in Tinakilly House Hotel on Wednesday Dec11th with 75 members attending.

The day started at 10.30 with complimentary teas and coffees in the tea rooms

At 11.15 we moved to one of the function rooms to start proceedings.


Officers Elected:

Chairperson:John Connor                           Secretary: Mick O Callaghan

Treasurer:   Eibhlin Kinsella                        Vice chair:     Stephanie Mc Donald

Honorary Auditors: Kitty O Connell  and  Geraldine Lynch

Motion For Convention;

That the members contribution to Solidarity be raised from 2 to 3 euros.


In attendance were Mary Mc Carthy NEC RTAI who spoke about what good branches do

Billy Sheehan our National Secretary spoke about pension increases

Mick O Callaghan asked members to recruit newly retired teachers into the Branch. He also mentioned the Solidarity Fund and how members could apply

The Treasurer Eibhlin Kinsella presented a very healthy set of accounts for the year after a very busy year’s activities.

Our guest speaker was Gaye Godkin, Consultant Nutrionist who advised on improving our DIET, as we grow older.

There was plenty of food for thought in this address

I have been asked for address and phone numbers to contact her and I refer you For further details to  her WEBSITE, which you can access by clicking HERE

After all the talking we adjourned to the luxury of Tinakily house restauant where all 75 tucked into the Christmas Dinner, followed by an evening of great chat and comraderie

A memorable day was had by all

All that remains now is to wish you all a very happy healthy Christmas and we will see you all in the New Year


Mick O’Callaghan


Below is a selection of photos taken at the AGM and the Christmas dinner.

Simply click on a photo to enlarge it!

Tour of the Houses of the Oireachtas, October 16th, 2019 - REPORT

Wicklow Branch RTAI had one of their most successful, enjoyable tours so far to the National Gallery and Dail Eireann.

On Wednesday October16th the RTAI tour bus left Gorey at 8.30 and proceeded to Dublin via, Arklow, Jack Whites

Wicklow town, Ashford,Greystones and Bray picking up retired teachers at each stop.

It is nice to report that there were no late comers so no late passes were issued.

Our first port of call was the National Gallery where members were free to browse or just sit down for coffee and scones or just chat with friends for one and a half hours.Most opted for a mixture of both,

Next stop was the Kildare Street entrance to the Dail when all 42 of us were screened through to start our tour.

After a few photos on the plinth and a short initial talk we headed for the Dail restaurant for a beautiful relaxed dinner and glass of wine for two hours which was greatly enjoyed by all.

We then continued our tour watching both Dail Eireann and Seanad Eireann in session and then back to take more  photos on the plinth with some Dail Eireann Luminaries.

A great day was had by all.

Our next major event will be theChristmas dinner in Tinakilly House on December 11th when we will have our General Secretary, Mr Billy Sheahan  who will speak on issues relating to Pensions and current situations affecting us.

Our guest speaker on the day will be Gaye Godkin, nutritionist ,writer and broadcaster. Gaye will speak for about 35 minutes and then take your questions from the floor

All this will be on Dec 11th starting with  registration, coffee and chat at 10.45 and the main event kicks off at 11.15

Below is a selection of photos of the Oireachtas visit. Simply click on an image to enlarge it.

Summer Meeting and Dinner, June 12th 2019

The summer meeting of Wicklow Branch was held in St Bridgets Hall Rathnew on Wednesday June 12th. There was a great attendance of 60 members.

The meeting kicked off with a very interesting talk from Matt Reville, President RTAI bringing members up to date on pension increases and other issues relating to RTAI .

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Sabina Brennan fro Trinity College who covered a wide range of issues on keeping our brains healthy and strategies for avoiding Dementia.

We had Sabina’s  book “ 100 days to a younger brain ‘ on sale at the meeting and Sabina signed all copies.  All members present really enjoyed and benefited  from her excellent presentation.

This was followed by a sumptuous meal in the luxurious surroundings of Tinakilly House Hotel.

Below is a gallery of photos taken on the occasion: To enlarge a photo, simply click on it!

RTAI Wicklow Summer Tour - May 7th 2019 - Photo Gallery


Wicklow members of RTAI enjoyed a great day out on tour to The National Stud, St. Fiachra’s and Japanese Gardens on Tuesday May 7th.

 The sun shone brightly for the occasion and everyone had a great day. This was followed by a lovely meal in the Japanese Gardens restaurant.

 Finally it was time for some retail therapy in Kildare Village and then the long journey home after an excellent outing to Kildare.

 It was a very friendly relaxed day where all involved really enjoyed the day out, as can be seen from the photos below:

(To see a photo in detail, just click on it.)




Newsletter - April 2019


April showers bring forth May flowers and so we head for Kildare Village, The Japanese Gardens and National Stud on Tuesday, the 7th of May with dinner in the Japanese Garden’s Restaurant as previously notified to you. If you have not already done so please book your place now by text to 0870612072 or by email to rtaiwicklow@gmail.com giving your name and preferred pick up point in either Arklow, Wicklow, Ashford, Greystones, or Bray. Exact pick up times will be communicated to all those traveling in advance of the tour. Please note, the closing date to book your place on the tour is Wednesday, April 24th 2019.



The annual RTAI convention was held in the Gresham Hotel on the 6th of March with Kitty O’Connell and myself representing you. Please go to https://www.rtaireland.ie/branches/wicklow/ for photos and a short account of the day. It was a very busy convention with many motions passed. There will be a full account of the event in the next issue of Comhnasc. Here are a few of the motions:

·        Branch funding will be increased from 15 to 20 euros per member.

·        Convention demanded that a full medical card be granted to all citizens over 70 and that there should be full income tax relief on Health Insurance.

·        There will be an extra issue of Comhnasc published.

·        Our Membership plus card will no longer be issued and the money will be used on our Counselling services instead. Please go to https://www.rtaireland.ie > Services > Inspire for details.



As already announced we are thrilled to have Dr. Sabina Brennan as our guest speaker for our summer meeting on the 12th of June 2019. We will be holding our summer meeting and talk in the Community Centre in Rathnew (same venue we used at Christmas). After the meeting we go the short journey to Tinakilly House for the summer dinner. This is an event not to be missed and we will share registration details in next month’s newsletter.



Last December I asked for nominations for this year’s charity donation. To date I have received four nominations which we will vote on at our June meeting. Nominations are as follows:

1.      Cancer trials

2.      Wicklow Hospice Cancer Support

3.      Greystones Parkinson’s Social Group

4.      Motor Neurone Disease Association


If you wish to nominate another charity please let me know before our June meeting.  



Last year, RTAI Ireland donated €14,701 euros from membership fees to 12 projects for the refurbishment of classes, provision of school textbooks, retention of vulnerable pupils and the mentoring and training of teachers. All projects involved RTAI members who volunteered in Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, South Africa, Ethiopia, Gambia and Cambodia. Full details of these projects and how to apply to volunteer can be obtained by contacting Head Office in Parnell Square on (01)2454130.


If you have any queries please contact Head Office in Parnell Square on (01)2454130 or info@rtaireland.ie before 1.00 p.m. if possible on any working day. The office closes at 4.30 p.m. daily. Where possible, all queries will be responded to within 24 hours.



We have organised a couple of very successful tours for our members and are looking to you for ideas about where we should go next. Please send your ideas and suggestions to me by text 0870612072 or by email to rtaiwicklow@gmail.com.


Mick O’Callaghan                   


Dates To Remember for 2019

Summer Tour : May 7th 2019 Guided tour of the National stud and Japanese Gardens and lunch at the restaurant . Full timetable and further details will follow in the New Year.

Summer meeting :  June 12th 2019; At this meeting our guest speaker will be Dr Sabina Brennan of Trinity College. Sabina will be well known to a lot of you through her Radio and Open University work with special emphasis on ageing.

Sabina is a research psychologist and award winning science communicator.  She currently works as a Research Assistant Professor in the Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin.  Her research focuses on understanding dementia risk and protective factors to establish how decline in cognitive function can be prevented. Sabina has made more than 30 films which have been translated into multiple languages and these films are used by health and advocacy organisations.   She is frequently invited to speak on brain health, ageism, stress, social isolation and related issues both nationally and internationally.  She has also appeared on Irish TV.
Sabina’s first book, 100 Days to a Younger Brain: Maximise your memory, boost your brain health and defy dementia will be published by Orion Spring in March 2019 

The winter meeting and annual Christmas dinner of Wicklow Branch  will be held on Wed December 11th 2019

Time and venue will be posted later

RTAI Annual Convention 2019

The Rtai Annual Convention took place on Tuesday, March 5th 2019, in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin.

Resolutions were passed on a wide variety of issues of relevance to retired teachers, including protecting pensions, medical cards for over 70’s, branch funding and tax relief on medical insurance.

The Wicklow branch was represented by Mick O’Callaghan (Chairperson) and Kitty O’Connell. They are pictured below with Denis Desmond, former Nationl Secretary, RTAI, at the convention.

Fantastic turnout at Dec 12th AGM

We had a fantastic turnout at our AGM on DEC 12th when our guest speaker was Mr Dermot Goode of Total health.

Dermot gave a 95 minute presentation with a very lively and informative question and answer session which was of great benefit to the 60 members present. He dealt with a range of health insurance plans and gave people lots of advice on transferring from one company to another and saving money.

This was followed by a very nice dinner and social Occassion in `Hunters Hotel



History of the Branch: Minutes of Inaugural Meeting, 1977

Below is a link to the facsimile of the minutes of the meeting at which Wicklow Branch RTAI was founded in 1977:

Minutes from Wicklow Branch Foundation 1977

Wicklow Photos 2018/19

St. Pat's Class of 1965 - 67 Reunion

The Kerry gang from Pats 1965/67 at the reunion in Killarney


Front row
Donal O Loingsigh,Mick Gleeson,John Fleming
Middle Row John Martin, Joe O Toole, Padraig Mac Fhearghusa,
Back row Mick O Callaghan,Pat Kielty, Jim Sugrue, Bart Bambury

Branch Officers

John Connor


Stephanie McDonald


Mick O'Callaghan


Evelyn Kinsella


Kitty O Connell & Geraldine Lynch

Branch Auditors

Contact Us

Michael: 087-0612072