Where we are:
Downe U3A is based in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, an
hours drive from Belfast in one direction and from the border
with the Irish Republic in the other. Downpatricks claim to fame
lies in a grave where (allegedly) Saint Patrick is buried but there
are lots of authenticated historical connections which our local museum
promotes very well.
5 years we have almost 200 members who can choose from 21 interest groups;
Art, Books 1, Books 2, Bridge, Circle dancing, Computing, Concerts,
Crafts, Film, Hill walking, History, Lunch, Opera, Out & About,
Poetry Appreciation, Scrabble, Singing, Tai Chi, Theatre, Travel, Walking,
Website, Wine Tasting, as well as a monthly meeting with a speaker.
We are lucky to have the use of the clubhouse of Downpatrick Golf Club
(which has a course described as one of golfs hidden gems), but
we also use local halls and homes. In a recent development we came to
an agreement to show opera in the local cinema which otherwise would
be unused in the mornings.
First and foremost
we provide a social life and keep minds and bodies active. We offer
mainly interest groups rather than classes. Our groups generally have
fewer than 15 people at each event so that new members can soon widen
their circle of friends, especially if we finish off with lunch or coffee.
Personally, through my U3A membership, I have read books which I would
not otherwise have picked up, gone to the theatre and watched films,
learned about (and enjoyed) different wines including one from India,
developed an interest in Irish history and researching it, learned how
to set up and maintain a website, learned how to relax through tai chi
and discovered great local walks which took me to places I did not know