As of July 2016, there are now 20 University of the Third Age (U3A) groups all over Ireland.
The benefits of U3A groups to their members are many and diverse - here are just a few of the positive things that members have told us.
1. It's a fantastic social outlet.
"I have found it a great way of meeting people of like mind and interests."
2. It is so energizing!
"U3A helped me to explore new ideas and horizons, make new friends, experience the energy and enthusiasm for life of older people."
"U3A releases a whole new range of areas of interests that I never knew existed."
"I schedule this once a month meeting; summer visits and theatre visits into my diary – I refer to this as ‘ME TIME’"
3. And it can be so much more than that...
"Communication is better than medication."
"After working for close on 50 years I needed to know what was going on in the community - it is a completely different world and at times very frustrating, challenging – especially during the last seven year period of austerity and pension income cuts; increased taxation; cuts in health and other services etc. Coming to our U3A and Age Action meetings has helped me to survive."
4. If you're thinking of starting a group, don't worry about having a crowd!
"Don't be afraid to start small. We were just a small group of people, most of whom had not previously met but who were interested in expanding their horizons. Now we have regular speakers, take field trips and go on overnight trips together."