Vaccination has banished the devastating incurable Polio virus from Ireland, but many are still living with its lifelong effects, including survivors in Laois and Offaly.
To support and help survivors, the Laois Offaly group of Polio Survivors Ireland meets regularly.
Recently they took their summer outing during Heritage Week, touring local heritage sites.
First the group visited Mountmellick Museum to view displays of its world famous embroidery style.
The group enjoyed a lunch in a private room following the audio visual and the tour.
“Everyone was extremely pleased with the trip,” says Bernie O’Sullivan, Convenor of the Laois-Offaly Social Support Group.
“We were joined by the Carlow, Kildare and Finglas groups and everyone was very interested in the Quaker history and the heritage on-show at the Embroidery Museum.” she said.
“There were special and more recent pieces on display, it was very well done,” Bernie added.
She was impressed with the accessibility of the museum, which is essential to polio survivors, with “lots of assistance available where needed”.
Afterwards the group enjoyed a private tour of Emo Court, the neo-classical mansion designed by Gandon, and its fabulous gardens and lakeside walk.
They ended with refreshments at the Catoca tearooms in the grounds.
“The guide explained everything really well and everyone loved that it wasn’t all cordoned off, you could walk around and see things,” Bernie said of Emo House.
There are about 7,000 polio survivors still needing help and support in Ireland.
There is no cure for polio, it is only prevented through immunisation, introduced in Ireland in 1957. The highly infectious viral disease is passed person to person, mainly in under 5's, and can cause paralysis.
Polio Survivors Ireland, formerly the Post Polio Support Group, is a charity which provides practical services, support and a listening ear, to Polio survivors, and raises awareness, working to ensure that survivors can live with dignity.
The Laois-Offaly Social Support Group meets about 7 times a year. To find out more, call Bernie O’Sullivan on 086 0647227.
For information about services, call 01 889 89 20 or see www.polio.ie