«September 2019»

LCAES Learner Features On RTÉ

Date: 23 May 2011

Eileen Sheehan, a learner with Limerick City Adult Education Service on the Basic Education Solutions programme, featured in the RTÉ/NALA television series A Story With Me In It. This series will run over six weeks and each programme will focus on one person’s story and their struggle with literacy.

In the first episode, which aired Monday 16th May, Eileen Sheehan, a mother of three from Moyross in Limerick, meets award-winning author Alice Taylor from Inishshannon in West Cork. Together, they visit places that evoke strong memories and lead to Eileen revealing stories from her past that her own family didn’t even know.

Eileen says that her difficulty with reading and writing held her back all her life. “I was always hiding it and keeping it from people – that in itself is an awful lonely place to live. The minute I’d even see someone taking out a biro or a form, the shutters would be up. I remember I was asked would I like to become a waitress but I said no because you’d have to write down orders and I couldn’t do that”, she says.

With the help of Alice Taylor, she learns how to turn her thoughts and feelings into words on a page. “It’s a bit like two horses going out to plough together that never ploughed before...we will have to achieve a certain harmony of thought between us to find a common ground”, says Alice before meeting Eileen at her home. “Writing your story...it’s a daunting challenge.”

After a few weeks working together, they produce a piece that Eileen then reads to friends and family. “I’m very proud of myself, I have to say”, says Eileen of her experience. “She teaches you that with courage you can overcome anything”, says Alice.

Eileen could never have attempted to write down her story except for the fact that she returned to education in Moyross Adult Education Group four years ago, after a lifetime of covering up her literacy difficulties. “You always hear the bad things about Moyross, you never hear the good things, and there are good things”, says Eileen. Returning to education inspired Eileen to get more involved in the local community and she is now a team leader in Rainbows, an after-school group for bereaved children, and she also volunteers with local elderly people while still attending her ‘Spongecakes and Spellings’ class.

Alice Taylor (left) is pictured above with LCAES learner Eileen Sheehan (right)

The Programme is available on the RTÉ Player at http://www.rte.ie/player/#v=1098494