Carna Community Café raises €1,000 for Red Cross Ukraine Appeal

galway daily news carna community cafe volunteers
Pictured are, from L-R, Mark South, Michele Dunckel, Siobhán Kennedy, Máire Ní Domhnaill, Kate Mulkerrins, Tom Lane, and Máirín Ní Churraion.

The recently launched Community Café in Carna has donated €1,000 to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal thanks to the village’s love of tea, cake, and a good old chat.

Set up by a group of sea-swimming enthusiasts in the area, the weekly café started just before Easter as a way for people to start socialising again after the lifting of Covid restrictions.

Looking to simply cover costs, charging just €1 for a cup of tea or a piece of cake, the café’s volunteer bakers and servers decided that any excess income would be donated to charity.

Just five weeks later, they passed on €1,000 to the Red Cross. The Ukraine appeal was also fitting given the location of the Café in the dining room of the Carna Bay Hotel – now providing accommodation to those who have fled the country.

Máirín Ní Churraoin, who runs the local Post Office, explained that initially, the aim wasn’t to raise money.

“We just wanted to provide a friendly, welcoming and affordable place where people could come and have a chat and see each other again,” she said.

“But it’s been proving more popular than we could have imagined, so we decided that any income generated has to go to a good cause – for this first donation we all felt the Red Cross Ukraine appeal was an obvious choice.”

Karl Rogers from the Carna Bay Hotel said they are delighted to be able to support the initiative.

“It’s just brilliant to see people coming out and socialising over a bit of cake again. And with the tea, musicians and chat, it’s a great way for our guests from Ukraine to meet local people and experience Irish culture first-hand.”

Pictured are (L-R) Máirín Ní Churraion, Kate Mulkerrins, Siobhán Kennedy, Niall O’Meachair (Conamara Area Director, Irish Red Cross), Tom Lane, and Máire Ní Domhnaill.

At the most recent event on Saturday, May 7, Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director, Niall O’Meachair was on hand to collect a cheque for €1,000.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this money from the Community Café in Carna, and through the work of the Red Cross we’ll make sure it goes to helping people affected by this awful, awful conflict,” he said.

The Community Café is held every Saturday in the Carna Bay Hotel, 10am to 12.30pm.