Cunamh Iveragh
Cunamh Iveragh Ring of Kerry Cycle

Cycle the Ring of Kerry for Cúnamh Iveragh

Cúnamh Iveragh is a group of parents, families and friends of people with intellectual disabilities of all ages living in the South Kerry area. Cúnamh supports these intellectually disabled people in whatever way possible to improve the quality of their lives and the lives of their families.

There is a need for a Respite Service in South Kerry. There has never been a Respite Service here before. Many of our children have challenging behaviour which makes it difficult for other family members or friends to take them for breaks. This means that most parents never get a break on their own. Our loved ones never leave their parents. 
Our plan is to renovate a house we purchased in 2013 to HIQA standards , while at the same time ensuring that it is homely with a high level of comfort so that our loved ones enjoy staying there. We do not want to have a house that feels like an institution. Leaving home suddenly and permanently would be a very traumatic event for our children and we feel a phased transition would be much better. We want for our children “ A Home Away From Home “

The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle will help us fulfill our dream and provide a much needed Respite Service for our children.


Hello ! Firstly I’d like to say thank you so much for taking the time out to read our testimonial.

My name is Loreto and my husband Jim and I are the parents of two adult daughters with autism and intellectual disabilities. Louise is 32 years and Elizabeth 30 years of age. Our girls live at home with us and have done so since birth.

We love all our 4 children dearly but Our eldest 2 have taken the lions share of our attention and time.

Louise and Elizabeth attended mainstream national school on valentia island ,and followed on to secondary at colaiste na Sceilge in Caherciveen.

Education was difficult and a challenge for both us and our girls. “Naivety is a great thing” I’ve often said if we knew then what we know now ,we may have done things differently but there is no manual with any child never mind one for your child with special needs.

In fairness they did very well considering the lack of resources but this I have to say was down to the personnel working with our daughters. We were blessed to have met many great people along the way who advised and helped both ourselves and our daughters.

Presently our daughters attend a day Centre in Cahirciveen for adults with intellectual disability. They love attending the Centre and the staff are fantastic,now it’s not all flowers and roses ,the girls have their moments and present with challenging behaviors and have melt downs, for anyone with any insight into these,they are best avoided believe me! Recovery from a melt-down could take a few days and that can be stressful for all parties involved.

Whilst we do have a day service for our girls, we have never had a respite service in Cahirciveen,the need for respite was always there for us as a family looking for a reprieve from caring but never met.

Nowadays the need for respite is even more urgent, as we as parents/carers are getting older, we worry about our health and wellbeing and sometimes feel it is being compromised . Our daughters are getting older also and presenting with more challenging behaviors. It’s normal to expect ordinary “normal ,disability-free adults to get sense and understanding with age but for us that wont happen. We have grown adults in adult bodies with the minds of children.

We can never escape their innocence or vulnerability.

Because of their needs and disabilities they will always need supports to live as normal a life as they can.
Because we are full- time carers we feel the need for respite is justified.

The girls themselves would benefit from organized ,structured respite provided by a specialized service provider. You might even say “but sure can’t family help out” ?

Yes they will offer but one needs specialized training in dealing with autism.

Autism is almost a different language, you would almost become autistic yourself when dealing with it 24/7. You live ,breathe and think autism all the time to facilitate the needs of our girls.

We have become prisoners in our home whilst caring for them.

There is no such thing as spontaneity, everything and everyone has to be planned with precision .There is continuous talk where one can’t even hear oneself think.

This is a pleasure denied to us as our girls despite delayed speech and many visits to speech and language therapists talk continuously now and demand that you reciprocate (sounds funny I know as the speech and language therapists did a great job).

Last year a house opened up in north kerry to provide respite, however this is not a solution to the respite needs we have as the distance alone is a deterrent. In order to attend or avail of this respite we would need to keep the girls off daycare to recuperate a day on either side of it. This does not make it feasible to us as a family despite the good service being provided by great people.

Respite should be quality respite, organized and frequent.

The respite would help sustain us as carers and refresh us and help recharge our batteries so to speak. This brings us to the very reason for our testimonial.

Cúnamh Iveragh respite project! As mentioned already our daughters attend a day service in Cahirciveen which is housed in a building that Cúnamh purchased in 2013.

This was a former residence of the Presentation Sisters. The dwelling house was made up of two houses with a conservatory connecting both. Our young people occupy one side of the house for day care whilst the other side is unoccupied.

The parents/carers and friends of Cúnamh Iveragh had discussions with the HSE and the need for Respite was acknowledged. In order for the building to be used for respite it would need to be renovated to bring it up to HIQA standard(health information and quality authority).

This renovation requires a lot of expenditure and last years ring of Kerry cycle helped us out a lot and for that we are very thankful. We are very fortunate to be chosen as one of the main charities again this year for the 2020 Ring of Kerry cycle and are enthusiastic about completing our project.

We can’t stress enough the importance of local, organized respite. The completion of this project would reap many benefits for the South Kerry area and the biggest benefit of all would be to us as parents.

The rest from caring would sustain us until eventually we can get a long term residential service for our loved ones.

Our young people and the worries and concerns associated with them are in our heads from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we fall asleep at night.

We do our best to dwell on the positive and thank God for the ability to look after them and we never take for granted our sense of humour because at the end of the day we need to be able to laugh too.

We humbly ask that you would support our project and thank you in anticipation of that!

Ní Neart go gcur le chéile.

Yours Sincerely,
Loreto and Jim Lynch


Event supported by