You are here

U3A Frequently Asked Questions

How does a U3A work?

University of the Third Age U3A logo

Each U3A is independently managed by its own members.

It is about organising activities even with a small number of people – people like action not meetings!

It's an interactive process where each member volunteers to facilitate a session.

Group members can decide to conduct a session in a number of different ways by presenting material on a particular topic, e.g. local history, gardening, music, story-telling, sharing travel experiences organising a guest speaker, e.g. from a local college, business, voluntary organisation facilitating an activity or group outing e.g. painting, crafts, visiting theatre, park, museum

If everyone contributes a programme will develop.

Sample programme:

  • Meeting One: Poetry reading (Seamus)
  • Meeting Two: Theatre visit (Eileen)
  • Meeting Three: Talk on Local History (Ann)

Share responsibility:

One person could be chairperson; another take attendances; another could think about social events for the group

Rotate roles and support one another

Have fun!

What is the ethos of U3A?

U3A is about...

  • Sharing lifelong learning interests, talents and experiences and knowledge with each other
  • Including and accommodating all members’ learning interests and needs, irrespective of a member’s abilities, religion, ethnic origin or level of education
  • Promoting personal development, skill sharing, creative expression and intellectual interests via mutual support and respect
  • Ensuring members are friendly, comfortable and at ease when learning and doing new things
  • Encouraging intergenerational learning and solidarity
  • Enabling a flexible, DIY philosophy where members devise their own learning programme
  • Being open to participating in the life of the local community by collaborating with a range of other voluntary, community, educational and statutory organisations in order to raise the profile of lifelong learning in Ireland and to contribute to the social development of Irish society
  • To promote and provide for the learning interests of all members
  • Incorporating Irish language and cultural practices in to the learning programme if the group wishes
  • Enjoy learning together

What can Age Action do for your U3A group?

There is no huge cost associated with people meeting up and learning together. There is an annual membership fee of €60 per group and this annual fee includes public liability insurance cover.

Initial steps

  • Introduce the concept of U3A and explain how it works
  • Help facilitate the initial meetings, including drawing up a programme
  • Provide advice on local supports and provide information and contact details for other U3A groups
  • Provide a training session on facilitating the continued development of the group, including advice on presentation skills

Follow-on support

  • Distribute a copy of the quarterly national U3A Network newsletter
  • Offer workshops at national and regional level
  • Host an annual U3A forum where U3A groups nationally can share their experiences

There are U3A groups all over Ireland. Find the contact details of the group nearest to you.

We're always looking for new U3A groups around Ireland.

If there's no U3A group near you, get in touch and we'll help you get started!