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Travenol Gathering

300 women and 15 men in a Mayo medical devices plant - a recipe for fun and significant social change in an impoverished area.

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Travenol Gathering

2013 is the year of The Gathering. An Irish government initiative to encourage tourism; families, communities and other groups were asked to organise a get-together and invite people here from abroad.

One of the gathering events, which took place in August, was of the former workers of the Travenol plant in Belmullet, Co. Mayo. The plant made medical devices and employed 300 women.

Travenol in Belmullet lasted only 7 years, from 1974 to 1981, however, its impact on the area has endured. Those 300 women were part of the first generation who didn't have to emigrate on leaving school and were also the first local women to work outside the home.

The money was very good and was reinvested back into the community.

Although the staff were distraught at the plant closing, 30 years on, their memories are mostly rosy.

Among those speaking on the programme are Mary McAndrew, Pat O'Neill and Ian McAndrew (who gave a speech to the gathering).

Produced and presented by Caoilin Rafferty.

Travenol Reunion Belmullet Facebook page. Photos here

October 2013

'The Curious Ear' is produced by Ronan Kelly

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