Helpline: 1800 234 900

  • Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Nollaig na mBan

Uniquely in Ireland January 6th is marked by Nollaig na mBan or Women's Little Christmas. On this day it is the tradition for women to gather together and enjoy their own Christmas and to this end a great night was had  in the TF Royal Castlebar on 6th January 2015. The night provided a great opportunity for women to come together and have a good evening while also raising funds for the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre Building fund.

The Celebration of Women featured a drinks reception, dinner, entertainment and great raffle and spot prizes including vouchers for spas and meals out, flights to the UK, and much more. 

The guest speaker on the night was the inspirational Senator Marie Louise O Donnell, broadcaster, politician. and lecturer. 

The inaugural “Mayo Inspirational Woman” award was  presented on the night. From 1st to the 20th December people were asked to nominate who they thought an inspirational woman who lives or was born in Mayo. The nominees were: Katie Loftus(representing her mother Martina Loftus), Breege Duggan, Bernie Hoban, Martina Jennings and Kany Kazadi. Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh was also nominated but unable to attend.

The night was  a fundraiser for the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre (MRCC) which has been in the county town for over 20 years providing a service for anyone who has experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives. The centre provides information, advocacy, counselling and support in a safe, confidential and private setting. Currently, there are outreach clinics for consultations in Ballina, Belmullet and Ballyhaunis. Last year there were 62 new consultations. The centre has a proven track record in understanding the particular difficulties that anyone trying to come to terms with an act or acts of sexual violence at any time in their lives will have. They also have an understanding in and knowledge of the process of reporting such a crime. 

The MRCC building in Castlebar is a truly essential space for those who turn up weekly to work through difficult histories and who so deserve the safety and comfort that the centre offers them. Sadly it is currently a health hazard as last year's storms caused damage exposed a pre existing structural problem and so has resulted in the service, which is already decimated by cuts to its core funding, being left with the stressful task of trying to pay for repairs. All moneys raised on the night went directly to help fund essential repairs to the building to allow it continue to provide a service to those who need it.

“We wanted for many years to link Nollaig na mBan to some kind of celebration of women,” said Ruth McNeely, former director at Mayo Rape Crisis Centre and volunteer fundraiser.

“Women really do incredible things in their communities and we love that the six nominees, who are all very diverse, reflected that.

Ms McNeely said the event was a great success and they are hoping to develop it into an annual awards ceremony.


 Hollymount woman Martina Jennings was named Mayo’s Inspirational Woman 2015 at the Royal Theatre Hotel, Castlebar, on Tuesday night.

 Ms Jennings was honoured for her inspirational campaign to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis and the instrumental role she has played in developing a state-of-the-art €1.3 million CF clinic at Mayo General Hospital.





Mayo Rape Crisis Centre