Home Archive by category "Uncategorized"

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Grant a final wish to people like Tess – support our Nurses for Night Care Service

Posted on: September 7th, 2017

Most of us want to die at home. Please grant a final wish by making a donation today.

There’s no place like home.

It could be the familiar smell when you open your front door, a cup of tea by the fireside or finding solace in your garden on a sunny day. The feeling of safety, comfort and reassurance when you are cosy in your bed at night.   Home is a place like no other and it’s no surprise so many of us want to spend our final days there with the people and comforts we love. With your help The Irish Hospice Foundation’s Nurses for Night Care service can grant a final wish. This free, national service allows people with illnesses other than cancer to die in the comfort of their own homes with loved ones. The nurse steps in at a difficult time to provide professional medical care, emotional and physical support and give carers a chance to rest and recharge.  

Pauline and her family discovered just how hard this time can be and experienced first-hand the wonderful difference our Nurses for Night Care service makes. Pauline’s mother-in-law, Tess was cared for in her home at the end of her life by the Nurse for Night Care, Ann.


Tess whose final wish to die at home was granted thanks to generous donors like you.

“Dementia can be quite sneaky in that it creeps up very gradually. For Tess, it started off with forgetfulness, lights left on at night, cooker left on, going down a number of times a week to collect her pension and getting so upset when she was told it was already collected. This was a very difficult time for Tess as she knew something was wrong but did not know what. It was very hard for the family as this strong, capable, loving, wonderful woman was gradually slipping away - the most painful was when she did not know her children or grandchildren…” As Tess’s disease progressed, it was clear that a care plan had to be put in place with the Nurses for Night Care service stepping in during the final five nights. “Our nurse Ann was a crucial part of ‘Team Tess’ who all strived to make her last few days as comfortable as was humanly possible. Ann was someone who willingly took over Tess’s care. Her calm, reassuring nature meant that the family could leave Tess’s side without worry. We knew she was in confident, capable hands.”

Nurses for Night Care provided expertise and comfort for Tess and her family.

“The joy of being at home meant Tess was getting one-to-one care all night long. The nurse could meet her every need without Tess being in distress. Having consistency and the same nurse for the five nights was something we were very grateful for. It was a comfort for the family to get some sleep at night knowing that if Tess worsened we could be by her side instantly. In Ireland we hear a lot of negativity towards health care. However, not everyone is aware of services such as Nurses for Night Care because seeing is believing and the care and compassion delivered to Tess and our family was immeasurable.”

But the demand for this free, national service is growing every year.

In 2016 we provided over 2,000 nights of care to 600 families at a cost of €650,000. The expected spend this year has soared to €800,000! This is why we desperately need your support to continue this vital work.


Just €40 provides one hour of night care.



To find out more about Nurses for Night Care Service and how to access it, please click HERE

Dying is Everyone’s Business. Can we afford to forget Grief? IHF Pre Budget Submission

Posted on: July 6th, 2017

Irish Hospice Foundation Pre Budget Submission calls for a national strategy for palliative, end of life bereavement care

  • 300,000 newly bereaved every year
  • IHF pre-budget submission calls for change
Irish Hospice Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2018 L-R Orla Keegan, Head of Education, Research & Bereavement, Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes and Angela Edghill, Advocacy & Public Engagement Manager

Pictured at the Irish Hospice Foundation Pre-Budget Submission 2018 L-R Orla Keegan, Head of Education, Research & Bereavement, Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes and Angela Edghill, Advocacy & Public Engagement Manager.
Photo By Paul Sherwood

Today (Thursday July 6th)  the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) calls for the government to show that bereavement, palliative care, end-of life issues are priority areas for policy development and investment. At their Pre-Budget Briefing in Dublin today the IHF strongly advocates for the development of a national strategy on palliative care, end of life and bereavement to include both health and non-health areas of public policy. This underpins all 23 IHF recommendations for budget 2018. Death is an inevitable and universal experience – a fact of life. While most people will experience ‘death denial’, it is not appropriate that the State adopt the same attitude. Dying, death and bereavement present myriad challenges to the health service and to other state services. That means that a whole society approach is essential. We believe dying, death and bereavement are everyone’s business with the assumption that healthcare and other services will recognise and address our needs. The recent Sláintecare report is an important development outlining a ten year plan for radical reform of Ireland’s health system. Despite its comprehensive look at the health services, sadly bereavement was forgotten in the report. Is no-one grieving in Ireland? The facts differ. In the next 10 years[1]: Almost 300,000 people will die in Ireland Over 3,000 of those deaths will be of children Over 240,000 will be of people over 65 years of age Almost 3 million people will be bereaved[2] and up to 150,000 of these will encounter significant difficulties or ‘complicated grief’[3] Grief is the common ground on which we all stand. We urge the Government and all Oireachtas members to ensure bereavement issues are priority areas for policy development and investment. If current trends continue 5% of grieving people will require specialist mental health services/psychological intervention[4]. Given this evidence, it is essential that the healthcare system meets the needs of people facing dying, death and bereavement and ensures that everyone gets equal access to good care. By careful planning, we can make the best use of the substantial funds that we directly and indirectly invest in the care of the dying and the bereaved, and, crucially, that this planning includes helping people to live well until they die. Orla Keegan Head of Education, Research & Bereavement, IHF said: “The implications of bereavement stretch across our society – all ages, all circumstances, all cultures. The cost of building caring communities is a small investment for long-term gains. Amongst the calls being made by the Irish Hospice Foundation is one for research to uncover the financial impact of loss which will help to reframe the bereavement grant for future generations. Support for joint-working by the voluntary sector in children’s and adult bereavement care is also identified as a primary need.”

Everyone deserves the right to a good death

“Everyone in Ireland deserves to have a good death. For this to happen, improvements are needed in Primary Care, Residential Care and in Hospital settings. These improvements need to specifically focus resources and expertise available outside traditional working hours as well as the development of Specialist Palliative Care in the Midlands and North East. From a public health perspective, the IHF recommend that the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is fully commenced this year. In the meantime there is an urgency to invest resources to ensure that Irish citizens and healthcare staff are aware of and fully understand the implications of this Act, particularly the impact on advance healthcare planning and facilitating people to make choices about their own healthcare” stresses Marie Lynch, Head of Healthcare Programmes, the Irish Hospice Foundation.  

Call for delivery of the best palliative, end of life and bereavement care in all care settings

The IHF asks the Government to: Ensure everyone has access to the best care at end of life and in bereavement through a political and public policy commitment to a strategic, responsive, population-wide approach to end of life issues and ensure the health care system delivers best palliative, end of life and bereavement care in all care settings. The IHF believes that with a more strategic approach, better end-of-life care can make a real difference to both the quality of healthcare provided to the citizen and the cost of health and social care to the State – a view supported by an Oireachtas Committee in 2014. [5]
  • According to Angela Edghill, Advoacy and Public Engagement Manager said “such a strategy supports: Government policy set out in the 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government[6] which seeks to ensure that we have an Ireland that looks after its people from the time they come into the world to the time they leave and promises investment in end-of-life care at all life stages. This proposed integrated approach echoes that set out in the National Positive Ageing Strategy[7] and most recently by the Finite Lives Reports[8] [9].
  • Delivery of the targets set out in the Sláintecare Report[10] of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare 2017 which builds on the 2001 National Strategy on Palliative Care (NACPC, 2001[11]) and the new framework for palliative care services, publication of which is expected.
In some cases the challenge is to simply join the dots – to enable, encourage, mainstream and replicate good practice and innovation across the whole of government and community areas.” Recommendations in the IHF pre-budget submission relate in particular the Departments of Health, Social Protection, Education and Skills, Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Children and Youth Affairs, Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and An Taoiseach, but are relevant across the whole range of Government Departments and Agencies. READ FULL PRESS RELEASE AND REFERENCES HERE>>>  

A full copy of the IHF Pre-budget submission is available HERE

For further information please contact: Angela Edghill, Advocacy and Public Engagement Manager      

History of Hospice RTE’s Mary Kennedy launches digital archive capturing 30 years of Irish Hospice Foundation

Posted on: February 20th, 2017

RTE’s Mary Kennedy launches digital archive capturing 30 years of Irish Hospice Foundation

Mother Teresa, Bono, Maeve Binchy, Gabriel Byrne, Seamus Heaney, Pat Kenny, Miriam O’Callaghan, Marian Finucane feature in our online archive -  archives.hospicefoundation.ie

The archive was launched in tandem with our impact report ‘Our Impact 1986-2016’ outlining 30 years of achievements.

(LtoR) IHF Board Chair Jean McKiernan, Denis Doherty board member & broadcaster Mary Kennedy Holly Cooper digital archive assistant IHF guiding Janice Redmond, Gerardine Montgomery and Patrick Ussher Jnr through archive HUNDREDS of previously unpublished documents including letters from Mother Teresa about a hospice for AIDS patients are included in an online archive documenting 30 years of the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), . People can access the free online resource and browse through collections which feature some of the best known names from the world of music, poetry, literature, broadcasting and politics who have supported the IHF over three decades. There are 2,000 items in the online archive created to mark the 30th anniversary of the IHF. Mary Kennedy launched the archive in the Royal Irish Academy, saying: “This archive spans three decades of the IHF since it’s foundation in 1986 and features some very familiar names that have supported the hospice movement. It maps the history of the hospice including ground breaking IHF programmes like Hospice Friendly Hospitals and Nurses for Night Care, innovative fundraising projects like the Whoseday Book and their pioneering research. It brings items that were hidden to light in an easy accessible format. If you’ve been involved with the IHF you may well find your image or name mentioned in the archive. The archive will evolve and update so if you have items of interest then contact the IHF to have them included.” The free online resource contains over 75 Collections, 1070 images, 223 text files, 66 videos and 20 audio recordings at present. letter Items at archives.hospicefoundation.ie include:
  • TK Whitaker’s speech and photos from IHF launch in 1986
  • Original photograph of Seamus Heaney's hands by photographer Perry Ogden with notes for cover of the Whoseday Book – a Unique Diary for the Millennium. The book in aid of the IHF had 366 contributors including poets, filmmakers and song writers.
  • Correspondence between Dr Mary Redmond & Mother Teresa
  • Correspondence relating to the preparation of the Whoseday book including draft sketches and letters for the final publication valued at £550,000 in 2000. The collection was bought by Bank of Ireland and was donated to the National Library.
  • A unique design agency sketch giving layout of the Peter and the Wolf book which was illustrated by Bono in aid of the IHF.
  • The original letter from Dr Mary Redmond to Sr Frances Rose O’Flynn of Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross in 1985 recounting how the death of her father highlighted the importance of hospice care for terminally ill patients and their families.
  • A meeting memorandum between Dr Redmond and Dame Cicely Saunders – founder of the modern hospice movement – in February 9th
Laura Rooney Ferris, IHF Information and Library Manager and archive creator said: “Often after a death, the first thing we do is open family albums or boxes in the attic to bring back memories of a lost loved one. At the IHF we’ve spent three decades supporting people at end of life so the occasion of our 30th anniversary was a time to pause and gather on our own memories.
In creating this digital archive we are publically sharing our family album. We are incredibly grateful to Mary Redmond’s family for this large collection of her personal papers and documents, and also to former board and staff members and people involved throughout the 30 years who kindly contributed. We’re calling on members of the public to share their photographs, memorabilia and items related to the IHF projects for addition.” Denis Doherty, IHF’s longest serving board member said: “A look back at the RTE documentary ‘Today Tonight – A Hospice for the Dying’ in the archive shows the remarkable vision Dr Mary Redmond had in setting up the IHF. The programme, aired 30 years ago, shows death for ‘many people’ in Ireland at that time ended in severe pain and isolation. Few doctors and nurses were trained to care for the special needs of the dying, the bereaved and those in pain. There were only three named hospices; one in Cork, Dublin and Limerick. The idea of dying without pain seemed a curiosity - an alien concept. “The work of the IHF and its supporters has changed that. The hospice movement with its concentration on quality of life, excellent symptom control and care of both the dying and their loved ones has grown from a ‘small movement’ to a national movement.” Denis Doherty IHF board member & Justice Catherine Mc Guinness Mr Doherty said the IHF will continue to strive for the right of every individual in Ireland to live as well as possible up to the moment of their death. “It will continue to embrace Dr Redmond’s vision that no one will face death or bereavement without the care and support they need.” The archive was launched in tandem with the IHF’s impact report ‘Our Impact 1986-2016’ outlining 30 years of achievements. Jean McKiernan, IHF Chairperson said: “The archive and impact report show great strides in the expansion of hospice and palliative care services. The IHF is making a difference at end-of-life in homes and across healthcare settings 24/7. None of this work has been achieved alone we work in partnership with individuals, communities and organisations across Ireland.” For example:
  • More than 150 hospitals and nursing homes have signed up to IHF programmes to improve end-of-life care. About three thousand healthcare professionals take part in IHF education and training programmes every year.
  • The IHF’s Nurses for Night Care Service is helping 500 families annually, giving people the option to be cared for in their own homes during their final days.
  • It has invested €4.5 million in palliative care services for children since 2005.
-ENDS - Notes: The archive can be found at http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie The impact report is at: http://hospicefoundation.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/IHF-Impact-Report.pdf   TK Whitaker’s speech and photos from the IHF launch in 1986 http://bit.ly/2jvmB5B Original letter written by Dr Mary Redmond to Sr Frances Rose O’Flynn of Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross on May 6th 1985 http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/19 Correspondence between Dr Mary Redmond & Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/61  http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/1750 Memorandum of 1986 meeting between Dr Mary Redmond and Dame Cicely Saunders. Topics discussed included Our Lady’s Hospice, advances and challenges in pain management for dying patients, fundraising and research.   http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/21 Original concept sketch art for Peter and the Wolf by Zero-G studios October 2002 illustrated by Bono. http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/972 Whoseday Book Collection includes valuation of the Whoseday archive £550,000 http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/1078   & Handwritten Postcard from Christy Moore accepting invite to the book signing http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/128 Perry Ogden’s sketches over his images of Seamus Heaney’s hands for Whoseday book cover art work (original in National Library) http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/1523 RTE news report on the mass Whoseday book signing in the RDS on Sept 26th 1999 http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/1853 Dr Mary Redmond highlights lack of adequate care for terminally children in December 1986 meeting. Concern prompted ‘Cherish a Child’ fund and agreement on the need for research on the needs of terminally ill children.    http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/files/original/6fc3e176afa6f7e8b587cdaac261feba.pdf Sr Bernadette Mc Mahon, one of the founders of St Francis Hospice, reflects on the work to establish St Francis Hospice and her memories of Mary Redmond in audio interview http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/1867 Details of IHF early days with Dr. Mary Redmond and founding of St Francis Hospice in audio interview with George Byrne, former IHF Finance Manager. http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/1705 Correspondence with Medical Schools on Bereavement, Death and Dying in curricula 1988. http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/collections/show/65 Images from IHF launch in Our Lady’s Hospice on April 21 1986 http://archives.hospicefoundation.ie/document/16 (LtoR) IHF Board Chair Jean McKiernan, Denis Doherty board member, Laura Rooney Ferris, Information Manager & Mary Kennedy (7) (LtoR) Karen Charnley head of AIIHPC, Dr Mary Devins, Orla Keegan Head of Education IHF & Breffni Mc Guinness training manager IHF

Irish Childhood Bereavement Network – National Conference

Posted on: November 4th, 2016
The 2nd National Conference of the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network is taking place on November 18th 2016. Tickets from €60. icbn-conference-nov-2016

Quality Support - The Way forward

This years conference is entitled ‘Quality Support: The Way Forward Standards | Care | Research’ and aims to look deeper into what quality childhood bereavement support involves for practitioners. The conference is an ideal opportunity for professionals working with bereaved children to deepen their understanding of the needs of bereaved children and gain further insight and knowledge, from recent evidence based research, on the best ways to support them.

Book now

To book your ticket now, visit our conference booking page and booking page HERE

Touching tributes for Dr Mary Redmond – IHF Founder

Posted on: October 26th, 2016
“Nationally, we owe a huge debt to Mary Redmond and the Irish Hospice Foundation. Mary's vision was to make hospice care ordinary; not in its quality but in its quantum in Ireland,” - An Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Dr Mary Redmond, 64 died on Easter Monday last year.  The corporate lawyer, academic, social entrepreneur and author founded The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) 30 years ago. Last Friday, The Irish Hospice Foundation’s Evening of Celebration and Remembrance – The Dr Mary Redmond gala Dinner – was held at the 5* Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin. An Taoiseach, who was Guest of Honour, continued his tribute at the gala dinner: “Mary was an intellectual, an author, an artist, a legal mind, a board member, deputy governor of the Bank of Ireland and a Fellow of Cambridge. “All the way through life you meet people who stand out and they make a mark for whatever reason. There’s something about them that makes a difference to you and that’s what I felt about Mary Redmond when I met her for the first time,” the Taoiseach said. RTÉ Prime Time presenter Miriam O'Callaghan also paid tribute to the “extraordinary” founder of the IHF as the woman she most wanted to be like when she was a teenage girl. Miriam is an IHF ambassador and made her tribute at the gala dinner.
"I was a law student in UCD and I always remember the first day in my lectures, this exquisitely beautiful woman walked into the room. I was 16 and she was probably no more than 24 or 25. It was Mary Redmond. She was lecturing in UCD in law and she wasn’t just the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, she was the most intelligent, she was the most brilliant and at that moment, I thought; ‘I want to be like Mary Redmond.’
“I could never be that, but she was one extraordinary woman. She shaped me as a young woman, as a 16 year old.” no fee if The Irish Hospice Foundation mentioned in caption Miriam O'Callaghan at The Irish Hospice Foundation Dr Mary Redmond gala dinner held at the InterContinental Hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Dublin, October 21, 2016 -- The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) celebrated its 30 year anniversary with a gala dinner honouring its founder Dr Mary Redmond on Friday, 21 October. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was guest of honour for the evening of celebration and remembrance at the 5* InterContinental Hotel in Dublin’s Ballsbridge Miriam lost her own sister Anne, aged 33 to cancer. She said:  “In a way death has touched us all. That’s why the Irish Hospice Foundation and what Mary Redmond did matters so much.” Dr Redmond set up the IHF after the death of her father Sean at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross in 1985. At the time there were only three hospices in Ireland and she felt strongly that hospice care should be available to all that needed it. Dr Redmond’s son Patrick Ussher spoke to guests about his mother’s own philosophy on life and her courage at end-of-life.
“She said there were three important things in life; to love, to live and to leave a legacy.
Of these love for her father from whom this advice originally came drove her to found the Irish Hospice Foundation.”   Mr Ussher said when his mother was diagnosed “with a form of cancer that carried a very short life expectancy she made a very courageous decision, to surrender her fears to God and to live.” He added: “Everyone has their own way of dealing with terminal illness and these must be respected.  But hers was to give the illness no time, to give it no power or control over her in any way. She did not discuss it with others, and she was determined to be something much more than a diagnosis and this was a decision that took enormous bravery.” Mr Ussher  said she focused her energies instead on doing things that were meaningful to her like spending time with her family and friends, writing books and deepening her faith.” no fee if The Irish Hospice Foundation mentioned in caption Jayne McKenna and Caolan Brady at The Irish Hospice Foundation Dr Mary Redmond gala dinner held at the InterContinental Hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Dublin, October 21, 2016 -- The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) celebrated its 30 year anniversary with a gala dinner honouring its founder Dr Mary Redmond on Friday, 21 October. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was guest of honour for the evening of celebration and remembrance at the 5* InterContinental Hotel in Dublin’s Ballsbridge Mr Ussher added: “Nearly every day without fail she would spend an hour in silent meditation. This practice gave her an internal strength but also a simple spirit of joy in the sheer fact of being alive. I could see the resolution develop in her that no matter how hard life was both physically and emotionally being alive was nevertheless worth every second. She would often say every moment is so precious.” IHF chairperson Jean McKiernan said the organisation remains “loyal” to Dr Redmond’s vision and strives for the best care at end of life for everyone. Dr Redmond began teaching law at University College Dublin at 19 years old. She also studied at Oxford and obtained her Ph.D at Cambridge. She went on to become Fellow and Dean of Studies in Law at Christ’s College Cambridge and was elected an Honorary Fellow. She became the leading academic on Irish labour law and published extensively. She set up her own firm in the mid 1980s in Ireland and subsequently merged her firm with Arthur Cox. She sat on the board of the RTE Authority and served consecutive terms on the Labour Relations Commission. -ENDS-

Westmeath People Give End of Life View at Death Café Conversation

Posted on: October 7th, 2016

Westmeath people turned out in force at Annebrook House Hotel Mullingar to speak out about dying, death and bereavement

The Death Café Conversation was organised by The Irish Hospice Foundation as part of their ‘Have Your Say’ national campaign and all feedback from the café will inform the first ever ‘Irish Charter on Dying, Death & Bereavement 2016’. Sharon Foley, CEO of The Irish Hospice Foundation was in Mullingar to meet with people and talk about the importance of this campaign. “The café conversation revealed amazing insights into what is priority at end of life and Mullingar surely had their say. Huge thanks to the warm crowd for giving such personal and valuable insights.
It really sparked conversations about end of life such as who will mind the dog when I’m gone, can I donate my body, we need a Last Aid Course to equip us to deal with dying, death and bereavement and it’s easier to talk to about other people’s death rather than your own.
There was a also resonating call for more bereavement services in Mullingar and it was clear that people want to talk openly about death to normalise this life happening. Veronica Larkin of North Westmeath Hospice spoke after the event: “The members of North Westmeath Hospice Fundraising Committee were delighted to have the teams for Milford Limerick and from the National Hospice visit. The feedback from those who took part was so very positive. Participants enjoyed the structured manner in which the event was run while at all times having the freedom to have their say. Thanks also to The Annabrook House Hotel for their attention to detail." “People also completed the Have your Say survey on the day and all feedback will inform our ‘Irish Charter on Dying, Death & Bereavement 2016’ published next year. Anyone can complete the survey online https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/haveyoursayirl and follow the social media movement #haveyoursayirl,” continued CEO Sharon. veronica-larkinEvery day 80 people die in Ireland; that’s 29,000 people every year. Each of us will only get once chance to die, so it’s important to think about what matters to you. We believe best care at end of life is about supporting everyone to live well to the end with dignity and comfort, surrounded by loved ones. “We want you to #haveyoursayirl based on your experiences, knowledge, hopes and fears. We can then be informed on how to further ensure the best supports are in place for you and your loved ones. We are pleased to be leading such an important public discussion and creating this essential charter for the Irish people,” concluded Sharon. The Irish Hospice Foundation is partnered with Limerick Compassionate Communities (part of Milford Hospice) in the project; and working with the support of Dublin City, Fingal and South County Dublin County Councils. Photo: Pictured at the Mullingar Death Café is Veronica Larkin of North Westmeath Hospice

‘The God Box: A Daughter’s Story’ Irish Tour Oct 13th – 30th

Posted on: September 30th, 2016

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll want to call your mother!

 Inspiring one-woman play exploring the unique relationship between mothers and daughters to tour Ireland

 All proceeds to benefit local hospices through The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF)

Best-selling American author and renowned businesswoman, Mary Lou Quinlan, is bringing her emotional, one-woman hit play “The God Box: A Daughter’s Story” to Ireland to raise funds for local hospice groups. Based on her powerful New York Times bestselling memoir of the same name, Quinlan  - recently named as one of Irish America Magazine’s Power 50 Women - shares her personal story of a family in love, in loss and in triumph. This comic and heart wrenching play tells how after her mother’s death Mary Lou discovered “God Boxes”, small containers stuffed with hundreds of tiny notes, sharing her mother’s innermost thoughts. They revealed her concerns about her kids’ demanding careers, to private wishes for people she’d never even met, to concerns about her own health and everything in between.
The poignant notes, scribbled in supermarket queues, restaurants, and at the kitchen table, were her mother’s way of releasing life’s worries and hopes. The discovery of the boxes triggered Mary Lou’s own unraveling, a journey to confront the greatest human challenge – learning to let go.
Co-written with Martha Wollner, an award-winning actor/playwright and director of NYC’s LAByrinth Theatre, the play has been presented in theatres across the US, including a sell out Off-Broadway run. In 2014 it enjoyed a 24-night run to rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Previews in Limerick and Dun Laoghaire in 2015, and recently in Belfast, drew warm Irish receptions to this personal family story. Quinlan has donated all proceeds to hospice, cancer care and education. To date she has raised nearly $400,000. Mary Lou Quinlan is a remarkable woman. A hugely successful entrepreneur, she is widely known in the US for her marketing company, Just Ask a Woman, and as an adviser to over 100 blue chip companies on marketing to women. She was formerly CEO of a large NYC ad agency and has written four books and numerous national magazine articles in the US where she has addressed hundreds of conferences on women’s issues. She was a judge on Simon Cowell's show, American Inventor, in which people went before a panel to decide if their invention had what it takes.
All proceeds of the 2016 Irish tour will benefit local hospices through The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), a national charity striving for best care at end of life for all, and which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Funds raised will support the IHF’s programme to support the voluntary hospice movement all across Ireland.
Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley said: “The Irish Hospice Foundation is delighted to bring The God Box Tour to Ireland in aid of all local hospice groups. Every year we coordinate two national campaigns on behalf of local hospice groups and all funds from this exciting tour go to that fund”. Mary Lou Quinlan said: “The tender care of hospice meant so much at the most critical days of my family’s life. Sharing my mother’s story is a way I can give back and raise awareness for this cause in Ireland, the land of Mom’s ancestors and a treasured place to me and my husband Joe.”

Dates and Venues

The God Box will perform in nine venues throughout Ireland in October. All shows start at 8 p.m.  godbox-flyer-image
  • Oct 13th Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, dunamaise.ie (057) 8663355
  • Oct 14th The Everyman, Cork, everymancork.com (021) 450 1673
  • Oct 15th Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny watergatetheatre.com (056) 776 1674
  • Oct 21st Siamsa Tire, Tralee siamsatire.com (066) 712 3055
  • Oct 22nd Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick limetreetheatre.ie (061) 953400
  • Oct 27th Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo hawkswell.com (071) 916 1518
  • Oct 28th Roscommon Arts Centre, roscommonartscentre.ie (090) 6625824
  • Oct 29th Backstage Theatre, Longford backstage.ie (043) 334 7888
  • Oct 30th Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire paviliontheatre.ie (01) 231 2929
See www.thegodboxproject.com for full venue details.  

“Invigoration of human spirit – hospice is a gift to families” – Ambassador Brendan Gleeson

Posted on: September 12th, 2016
8_monday_12th_5pm Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning Ambassador and renowned actor Brendan Gleeson gave a powerful interview on Marian Finucane’s RTE Radio 1 show last Saturday about the touching difference hospice care has made in his life.
Speaking to Marian, Brendan said: “It reawakened my faith in humanity. It’s magical the way death is embraced as a part of life. The hospice just embraces death in that way and gives people the finest death possible. And the gift that they allow the people around, families – there’s a beauty about it that is exquisite. “My mother and my father both ended their lives there [in St Francis Hospice, Raheny] and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t know how to express it properly how a good death is so life-affirming. It’s incredible the gift that it is,” said Brendan.
The Irish actor also praised hospice staff nationwide for the life-changing help they give to patients and their loved ones.

You can Listen back to the show HERE >>> 

Brendan will also be on Pat Kenny’s show on Tuesday 13th at 11.15am. Thank you to Brendan and all Ambassadors who are supporting Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice this Thursday.


In A Word…Hospice – Irish Times article

Posted on: September 11th, 2016

patsy-mcgarry-editedArticle by Patsy McGarry

You might say we are in recovery. Sort of. Optimism ruled most of us for the eight months that passed between my brother Pearse’s diagnosis with lung cancer and his death on July 20th last. Family members with medical knowledge were always less so. Those of us who were informed grew to cherish our ignorance as time passed, even as the evidence ground out its own grim truth. It was not so much denial as a gamble on hope.

Pearse was just 60 and the first of us siblings to die. In a large family blessed with health, his cancer came so out of left field. We had never known serious illness, none of us. Where we, his wife, children and grandchildren, our mother have been concerned, it caught all our hearts off guard and blew them open – to paraphrase Seamus Heaney.

But we remain so, so grateful. To consultant Sylvia Blascova, the oncology team and nursing staff at Galway University hospital, to consultant Ollie McAnena and nurse Terry Gallagher there too; to Dr Cathryn Bogan consultant in palliative medicine at Sligo University hospital where Pearse died, and the astounding nursing staff at its oncology unit.

They have a room there where family members can stay as we did over those last long days and nights of Pearse’s dying.

I do not know how the people at either hospital can remain so extraordinarily consistent in their compassion as they deal with death, the dying and the soon-to-be-bereaved day in, day out. It takes special and rare human beings. For they are all of that.

Next Thursday all can assist them and people like them by taking part in Ireland’s biggest coffee morning to raise funds for hospice services throughout the country.

Organised by the Irish Hospice Foundation, at hospicefoundation.ie or 01-679 3188, all proceeds go to a hospice service in your area. It stays local – but you might remember the oncology unit in Galway and Shout, the Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust.

It is a vain hope that none of us will ever need a hospice service. Statistics indicate otherwise.Regardless, these wonderful people deserve all the support we can give them in making life less painful for the dying and the soon-to-be-at-a-loss. Hospice from medieval French hospice, itself from the Latinhospitium, meaning “guest house, hospitality”. [email protected]

Every Cup Counts for Hospice!

Posted on: August 22nd, 2016

Mario urges everyone to get on board for Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice 2016

Host a coffee morning or share a cup of Bewley’s #coffee4hospice

6,508 people passed away with the support of local hospice services in 2015

Mario Rosenstock is calling on everyone to get on board for Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice together with Bewley’s on Thursday 15th September. That’s the day when people everywhere will share a cup of Bewley’s coffee to support their local hospice and their vital work caring for people in their local communities nationwide. Mario and other well-known personalities are backing the Hospice campaign including Davy Fitzgerald, Brendan and Domhnall Gleeson, Imelda May, Gabriel Byrne, Baz and Nancy Ashmawy and Eamonn Coughlan Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley said: "It’s really easy to take part.  You can register at www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie , contact your local hospice by calling 1890 717 000, or go along to any nearby coffee morning for your local hospice. This year is Ireland’s 24th Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice since the major annual fundraiser first started in 1993 with some €32m raised to date. All money raised locally goes directly to local hospice care services and The IHF is very proud to coordinate the event. Every cup counts so please share a cuppa on September 15th for your local hospice." Mario Rosenstock said, “I’ve been delighted to be involved with the hospice for a few years now and in that time I've seen at first-hand the work they do and the care they give. I’ve always found it an uplifting experience meeting the patients and residents. Each and every hospice patient is treated with wonderful kindness and dignity at such a vulnerable time. “To continue giving this care, hospice services across the country need vital funds and Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice is the one day when everyone can get involved and help them to do just that. Whether you host a coffee morning of your own or visit a local coffee morning to enjoy a Bewley’s coffee, your support is key as every cup counts”. Every year over 29,000 people die across Ireland and over one fifth of these people are supported by their local hospice either in an IPU setting (in patient unit) or via a Home Care team. Last year, 6,508 people passed away with the support of their local hospice. Local hospice services include specialist palliative care, residential care and end-of-life care. Money raised from Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice will go towards essential services such as homecare nurses, new equipment and development of new hospice care facilities. Pat Quinlan, Chair of the Voluntary Hospice Groups said, “There is continuing pressure on already strained hospice services. The number of patients being admitted to hospice facilities is increasing and the demand for homecare services is also on the rise. “Each local hospice across the country has a crucial role to play in caring for the people in their community but they face serious funding shortages. Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice together with Bewley’s has been raising much needed funds for the hospice movement for 24 years. We want to thank people for their generosity and urge them once again to get behind this year’s campaign.” Mark Saunders, Brand Director with Bewley’s said “Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice is an incredibly important and vital campaign that Bewley’s has been very proud to support as sole sponsor since our very first cup of coffee was poured for Hospice over two decades ago.  This unique bond has gone from strength to strength with over €32 million raised for hospice care nationwide to date, that’s over 16 million cups of coffee.  But we need many more cups of coffee to be brewed for Hospice so we are asking everybody to come together On Thursday 15th September, have a cup of Bewley’s coffee and raise much needed funds for this vital cause.” To host a cost morning, register at www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie to receive your free coffee pack of Bewley’s fresh ground coffee. You can also contact your local hospice by calling 1890 717 000. ENDS