68-year-old Larry Duggan, a resident who has been happily living in one of SHARE’s Grattan Street housing units for the past 10 weeks, is just one individual who benefits from the great work carried out by all involved with making SHARE an annual success.
Originally from Dublin Pike, Larry has spent most of his life moving around Cork from house to house, sometimes dwelling in digs, due to an early end to his career. “I was working in a factory out the country but I had to give it up at a young age because I have arthritis in both feet,” Larry explains. “It is so painful. When I was at the factory, I was often in a worse condition than some of the older people working there because of it.”
Without a steady job, Larry found himself in a constant state of uncertainty when it came to his living conditions.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always moved around and I’ve lived in several places,” he says. “I lived in Togher for some time, in Greenmount, then I moved to the Mardyke and after that I moved up to Farleigh Place by the Country Club. I also lived in Roche’s Buildings for a bit before moving on again and finally settling here, in my SHARE home. I was like a nomad moving around!”
Such continuous interruptions in his home life were often difficult for Larry to handle, especially during the bleaker months.
He tells us: “I was talking to my brother about it recently and I realised that where I am based now is the seventh place I’ve lived in. When I was up in the Mardyke I was in digs and when I moved to Farleigh Place, I lived in a basement. It was so cold in the winter and had a terrible effect on my arthritis.”
Now settled in his beautiful, homely new residence in Cork’s city centre, Larry couldn’t be happier, surrounded by the sights he is most familiar and comfortable with. “I’m living on Grattan Street in my own apartment,” he says. “It’s lovely. I’m with SHARE 10 weeks and I’m settling in well.”
Larry also reveals that while he was offered an apartment in a different area of the city by the wonderful people of SHARE previous to his current residence, he declined due to fear of the unknown. He says: “I was offered a place in Blackpool but I refused because I’m not used to the area and didn’t think I would settle there.
So, I was put on the list again and I’m delighted to be over in Grattan Street now. For five years I’ve wanted to get in here.” It’s no surprise that the Corkonian craved an inner-city home, given the fact that his daily routine revolves so heavily around the streets of his beloved city.
In fact, the combination of familiar surroundings and independent living, as provided by SHARE, is a winning one for Larry, who explains: “I go to town almost every day, I have my own routine. I usually go straight to Merchant’s Quay Shopping Centre for a bit because I’d often meet people to talk to there. Then later in the morning, I’ll head over to the library for a bit and I might go for a spin on the bus after. I also like to pop into Penny Dinners to visit friends I have over there.” He adds: “I have my own independence, it’s so important.”
While he has spent just over two months as a member of the SHARE community, Larry is no stranger to the work carried out by the Cork institution. “I’ve known about SHARE for years from seeing the students around town in their yellow jackets collecting at Christmas time,” he says.
“Before moving into my apartment, I also used to visit people here – my friends Tommy and Ed. I now know a lot of the residents and I meet them in the Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre a lot.”
Larry was also full of praise for those that ensure the successful day-to-day running of the Centre, saying: “I get on very well with all the SHARE staff, they’re lovely.” Despite living by himself for the past 42 years, Larry still enjoys regular Tuesday visits from a close friend, as well as quality family time spent with his family and he now looks forward to spending a few days with those closest to him over Christmas.
“I have two brothers and a sister, but my sister died a few years ago,” he tells us. “My two brothers are still in Cork and I’d see one of them quite often. I’ll go to his house for Christmas – he lives on the top of Hollyhill with his wife and daughter.
I’ll go up there on Christmas morning and will come back the day after St Stephen’s Day.” In an effort to continue their support of Cork’s older population, such as Larry, SHARE’s ten-day Fast & Fundraising Campaign is now taking place in Cork and will run until Christmas Eve.
Members of the public are invited to continue their invaluable support of the annual campaign by visiting the SHARE Crib at Daunt Square in Cork or the SHARE cribs at the following shopping centres: Mahon Point, Merchant’s Quay, Wilton, Blackpool, Bishopstown Court, Douglas Court, Douglas Village Shopping Centre, Riverview Shopping Centre in Bandon and Ballincollig Shopping Centre, where any donations are welcome.
Alternatively, donations can be posted or delivered in person to SHARE, The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre, 43 Sheare’s Street, Cork where acknowledgements will be issued immediately.