North Dublin Befriending Service


News from Befrienders Dublin

Befrienders Dublin 2016 Photography Project – ‘Capturing The Moment’ – By The Photographers

December 7th, 2016


Canice Lawlor

The photography course was a great experience. Having something to do and somewhere to go on a Saturday made the weekends more exciting and something to look forward to.

Although I had done Photography in the past, I felt I still had new things to learn and it was important for me to become more competent at using the camera.

I met new people and enjoyed sharing our mutual interest in what we learned during the day. We always went out for a meal afterwards and I really enjoyed this.

I learned to be more relaxed and to move the camera around the subject in order to get good composition & exposure.  I learned you can do this without using high-end equipment.  Paula was very encouraging and supportive with this. The course was worthwhile and fun. (See Canice’s pictures here).


Nikki Phillipson

I really enjoyed the course. We went to great places and took interesting photos.

One day it was lashing rain, but we were still able to take great pictures.  My favourite photo was of the Molly Malone statue, it made me think of what her life must have been like.

I did the first photography project with Befrienders.  This time we were able to use the cameras better because we had more experience.  At the end of every trip we went for something to eat.  We chatted and socialized and made new friends and built on the friendships we already had. (See Nikki’s pictures here).


John Brien

I found this course was brilliant. Paula is a great tutor, I really got a lot of hints and advice, picture-wise, from her. One of the high lights was the Powerscourt Gardens as there was so much nice scenery to take good pictures of.

Also, the craic we had on the course was brilliant indeed and the other members were great too. I’ve made friends with them.

I very much enjoyed taking them to “Pun City” and “One Liner” street too. So thanks to Paula & Ann & Befrienders Dublin for the opportunity to do this course. (See John’s pictures here).


Kevin Duignan

I have been with the Befrienders for over four years. I did the first photography project and enjoyed it, so I was delighted to do this one. I learned from the experience of the last course. I got the opportunity of using a professional camera.

I enjoyed taking the pictures in the Botanic Gardens as it is an amazing place.

I really enjoyed meeting new people and old friends too.  We had the craic and enjoyed the whole process. I would like to thank Paula the teacher, who was great. (See Kevin’s pictures here).


Mary Donnelly

I really loved the course. I enjoyed taking the pictures and really got into it.

My favourite was the picture I took of the Sea Gull on the Wall of the Liffey. He just sat there and didn’t move until I took the picture. I felt like I really did capture that moment.

I learned many new things, met new people as well as keeping up with old friends from the last course in 2014.  We always went for something to eat and had a laugh afterwards. (See Mary’s pictures here).


Paul Galvin

We all enjoyed the photography course and hopefully it will take place again next year. We took pictures at different locations. Powerscourt was very enjoyable and the G.P.O. also. We went to Bray on the Dart one day and took pictures, it was great fun.

We also went to the Docklands area. One of the pictures I like is of part of the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Another of my favourites is a reflection of myself in the side of The Spire.

Another picture I took that I like was of a bee pollinating a flower in Stephen’s Green park. I also caught a juggler while he was jogging along the Liffey.  At the end of the course, we viewed our pictures on a big screen and selected the best. (See Paul’s pictures here).

Befrienders Dublin 2016 Photography Course – ‘Capturing The Moment’ – The Photographs

December 5th, 2016

Click Pics for bigger version!

Befrienders Dublin 2016 Photography Exhibition – ‘Capturing The Moment’ – Pics & Video

November 19th, 2016


Earlier this year, Befrienders Dublin ran its second Photography Course. The first one was in 2014. Once again, the wonderful Paula Geraghty was at the helm and took the group through its paces over ten weeks of day-trips to places like Powerscourt and Bray. There were also classroom days where the group would review the pictures they had taken on the day-trips and use the knowledge to improve their pictures on the next trip.

Although of course everyone learnt a lot, there was a great emphasis on making photography fun & everyone enjoyed meeting up for each session. After each session, we would go for some food and discuss the results of the day’s efforts.

An exhibition of photographs taken on the course in Finglas Library ran from 21st November to Saturday 3d of December. Below are some fab pictures by Paula Geraghty from the launch on November 23d.

We would like to thank Dublin North West Area Partnership for making the course possible, Dublin City Council, Denis O’Shea & all the staff at Finglas Library for hosting the exhibition &  for their help, Paula for devotion above & beyond the call of duty, all our photographers & of course Our Glorious Leader Ann, from whom all good things come. We’re already looking forward to the next Photography Course! Watch a video of the launch here.

Click on the fab thumbnails for the bigger pics!

Befrienders Dublin visit Japanese Gardens & National Stud, 20 Aug 2016

September 9th, 2016

Saturday August  20th 2016 was a rainy, windy day. Alas, we had chosen that day to visit the Japanese Gardens/National Stud in Kildare. Some of our number were put off by the dreadful weather, but the hardy crew that met at the Gresham Hotel were rewarded by a (mostly) sunny trip.

The National Stud proved to be very interesting. None of our number were particularly ‘horsey’ (or inveterate gamblers). However, the tour guide gave us a very interesting insight into the goings-on of the Equine lot. We also saw several of the prize-winning horses (one of which was valued at €35 Million). ‘Surely a lure for crims to stage a Shergar-like heist?’ we wondered. ‘No chance’, said the guide, ‘the horses are kept in their stable at night, which is secured by a padlock’.  He showed us the stable & the lock in question wouldn’t keep out a ten-year old. My geuss is they secretly have killer robots with laser cannons to protect their ‘prize ponies’. 😉

After lunch, we strolled through the Japanese Gardens, which were, as you would expect, beautiful and tranquil. Ducks & swans wandered freely amongst the touristic throng. As you can see from the photos below, the mass of our party somehow got seperated from this photographer, which explains the preponderance of photos of Canice & Our Glorious Leader. However, we all met up again in the cafe where we had a final brew. After an afternoon in such serene and contemplative surroundings, we were ready to return to the noise and stress of ‘Dirty Dublin’.  Like when we left this morning, it was lashing rain when we returned.

Thanks to Ann for masterminding the event, thanks to The National Lottery/HSE & thanks to The National Stud/Japanese Gardens for a great day!

Click on the fab thumbnails for the bigger pics!

The Gang after they emerged from hiding.

Befrienders Dublin hit Powerscourt Gardens & Waterfall – 13 Aug, 2016

September 1st, 2016

On a cloudy August Saturday, The Befrienders Dublin gang piled onto a bus & headed for Wicklow. First stop was Powerscourt Waterfall. At the entrance was a sign forbidding alcohol & anti-social behaviour. It was in English and Russian. This seemed an unnecessary slur on our friends from the former Soviet Union. Alas, as our driver whizzed past it, we were unable to obtain a photo of said sign as documentary proof.

The waterfall was, of course, very beautiful. This writer and Eileen both remarked how small it seemed compared to when we had visited (seperately) as younger dudes. We clambered over the rocks  to the waterfall and jostled the hordes of tourists for good photo opportunities (see below).  Our photography group were doing their own thing today also and could be spotted in various clumps beside photogenic trees, rocks and especially where the falls ‘niagarously roar’.

Our Glorious Leader Ann had prepared a sumptious feast & we spread out amongst the picnic tables and tucked in ravenously. At one point, one ingrate said ‘there’s no bread’. ‘Let them eat cake’, came the imperious reply from ‘Kim Jong Ann’. However, ‘Marie-Antoinette’ deigned to scurry around furiously (Our Furious Leader?) and eventually produced a sliced pan, to fulsome cheers all around.

When we arrived at the entrance to Powerscourt Gardens, our bus driver was incredulous at the narrow space through which he was expected to squeeze his behemoth (fnarr, fnarr). However, with great skill he managed to transport us between the pillars without a scratch and we all applauded wildly. The Gardens were very pretty and very, very spacious. You could spend a whole day doing the rounds. We satisfied ourselves with a few hours of walking & taking pictures & finished our day off with a cuppa in the (extremely busy) cafe overlooking the gardens.

If you’re going to Powerscourt Gardens, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. But seriously, go early and preferably off peak. I would also recommend bringing insect repellant. The midgets [sic] made a meal out of me and the following day I resembled The Elephant Man. These minor quibbles aside, we had a wonderful time. Thanks to Ann for masterminding the whole shebang and thanks to The National Lottery/HSE for making it possible & thanks to Paula for the great pictures.

Click on the fab thumbnails for the fab pics by Paula Geraghty!

Befrienders Bundoran Holiday, July 2016

August 15th, 2016

In July, Befrienders headed to Bundoran for our annual holiday. It was another 10/10 experience.  As usual, we took part in a huge range of activities: Karaoke, Bingo, Cinema, Waterpark, Swimming, Kayaking, Horse riding and shopping.  We also went on a day trip around Sligo, visiting Mullaghmore, Glencar Waterfall and Rosses Point Beach (on the hottest day of the year). We visited W.B Yeats’ Grave also.  We also had a marvellous picnic at the beautiful Glencar Waterfall & went to a classic car show. Overall, everyone had a great time.

Befrienders Dublin would like to thank: Georgina & all the staff at SVDP Bundoran Holiday Centre for looking after us so well, The Eclipse Cinema, Bundoran, Waterworld Bundoran, Surf N turf Bundoran, Donegal Equestrian Centre, The Peak Restaurant & last but not least, the Garda who escorted us to the Old Shiel hospital in Ballyshannon in the middle of the night when one of our party was taken ill.

Click on the fab thumbnails for a bigger picture!

A poem by Canice Lawlor

August 5th, 2016


Savouring every tear.
You’ll be lucky,
To get in another beer,
Because it’s the end
For you for another year.

Look into your soul.
Dont let the bells toll.
Let your sight go.
As you enter another world,
You’ll be thinking of another bold
Year to come back from.

All that’s arranged
Is not engaged
In the fuller length of your age.
So let it go now,
Dont let the pro how,
You’ll be ringing Dav Id,
It’s all about to go down now,
So let’s have it, The shifts ave it.

You’ll have to clear the loo,
It’s no longer safe just being you.
Let go of it too.
It won’t take you away from yourself
Or have you cleaning delf,
Because self awareness is no awareness at all,
If it doesn’t have you clearing ball.

Take the initiative and go keech.
You’ll have the rest of the week
To be feeling meek.
The rest of the week
To be feeling weak.

This is not a tale of happiness,
But rather capturing this,
You can always go away feeling lighter
And that bit brighter,
Because after all it’s the end of the week,
You should be feeling meek
And not tread on other people’s beaks,
So by the end of the week,
You can savour every tear.


Canice is a leading light in Befrienders Dublin. He takes part in most of our activities & is currently enrolled in his second photography course with us. He is great fun to be around and his infectious laugh is a feature of our videos. The sometimes unconventional spellings in this poem are all deliberate. Canice also creates new words. We will be featurng more of his poetry in futire postings.

Befrienders Dublin BBQ 2016

July 4th, 2016

BBQ 26 June 2016 003

On Saturday 25 June, Befrienders Dublin held our annual Barbeque at Goirtin. We had decided to hold the barbeque indoors due to the recent monsoon-like rain. But although it was cloudy on the day, the rain never fell & in fact it was quite sunny for a while. So, while we had our food indoors, we were able to venture outdoors for some ballgames. We danced to the fab music provided by DJ Dr. Jay (he also helped with the cooking!). Thanks to everyone who helped make this a wonderful day & of course many thanks to Our Glorious Leader Ann for putting it all together.

Click on the fab thumbnails for a bigger picture!

Being Suicidal: What It Feels Like to Want to Kill Yourself

June 20th, 2016


In considering people’s motivations for killing themselves, it is essential to recognize that most suicides are driven by a flash flood of strong emotions, not rational, philosophical thoughts in which the pros and cons are evaluated critically. I don’t think any scholar ever captured the suicidal mind better than psychologist Roy Baumeister in his 1990 article, “Suicide as Escape from the Self.” According to Baumeister, there are six primary steps in the escape theory, culminating in a probable suicide when all criteria are met

Step 1: Falling Short of Standards

Most people who kill themselves actually lived better-than-average lives. Suicide rates are higher in nations with higher standards of living than in less prosperous nations; higher in societies that endorse individual freedoms; higher in areas with better weather; in areas with seasonal change, they are higher during the warmer seasons; and they’re higher among college students that have better grades and parents with higher expectations.
Baumeister argues that such idealistic conditions actually heighten suicide risk because they often create unreasonable standards for personal happiness, thereby rendering people more emotionally fragile in response to unexpected setbacks.

Step 2: Attributions to Self

Suicidal individuals who engage in negative appraisals of the self seem to suffer the erroneous impression that other people are mostly good, while they themselves are bad. Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, inadequacy, or feeling exposed, humiliated and rejected lead suicidal people to dislike themselves in a manner that, essentially, cleaves them off from an idealized humanity. The self is seen as being enduringly undesirable; there is no hope for change and the core self is perceived as being rotten.

Step 3: High Self-Awareness

“The essence of self-awareness is comparison of self with standards,” writes Baumeister. And, according to his escape theory, it is this ceaseless and unforgiving comparison with a preferred self—perhaps an irrecoverable self from a happier past or a goal self that is now seen as impossible to achieve in light of recent events—fuelling suicidal ideation.

Step 4: Negative Affect

It may seem to go without saying that suicides tend to be preceded by a period of negative emotions, but, again, in Baumeister’s escape model, negative suicidal emotions are experienced as an acute state rather than a prolonged one. “Concluding simply that depression causes suicide and leaving it at that may be inadequate for several reasons,” he writes. “It is abundantly clear that most depressed people do not attempt suicide and that not all suicide attempters are clinically depressed.”

Psychodynamic theorists often postulate that suicidal guilt seeks punishment, and thus suicide is a sort of self-execution. But Baumeister’s theory largely rejects this interpretation; rather, in his model, the appeal of suicide is loss of consciousness, and thus the end of psychological pain being experienced. And since cognitive therapy isn’t easily available—or seen as achievable—by most suicidal people, that leaves only three ways to escape this painful self-awareness: drugs, sleep and death. And of these, only death, nature’s great anesthesia, offers a permanent fix.

Step 5: Cognitive Deconstruction

The fifth step in the escape theory is perhaps the most intriguing, from a psychological perspective, because it illustrates just how distinct and scarily inaccessible the suicidal mind is from that of our everyday cognition. Cognitive deconstruction is pretty much just what it sounds like. Things are cognitively broken down into increasingly low-level and basic elements. For example, the time perspective of suicidal people changes in a way that makes the present moment seem interminably long; this is because “suicidal people have an aversive or anxious awareness of the recent past (and possibly the future too), from which they seek to escape into a narrow, unemotional focus on the present moment. Thus suicidal people resemble acutely bored people: The present seems endless and vaguely unpleasant, and whenever one checks the clock, one is surprised at how little time has actually elapsed.”

Evidence also suggests that suicidal individuals have a difficult time thinking about the future—which for those who’d use the threat of hell as a deterrent, shows just why this strategy isn’t likely to be very effective. This temporal narrowing, Baumeister believes, is actually a defensive mechanism helping the person to cognitively withdraw from thinking about past failures and the anxiety of an intolerable, hopeless future.

Even the grim, tedious details of organizing one’s own suicide can offer a welcome reprieve: When preparing for suicide, one can finally cease to worry about the future, for one has effectively decided that there will be no future. The past, too, has ceased to matter, for it is nearly ended and will no longer cause grief, worry, or anxiety. And the imminence of death may help focus the mind on the immediate present

Step 6: Disinhibition

We’ve now set the mental stage, but it is of course the final act that separates suicidal ideation from an actual suicide. Baumeister speculates that behavioral disinhibition, which is required to overcome the intrinsic fear of causing oneself pain through death, not to mention the anticipated suffering of loved ones left behind to grieve, is another consequence of cognitive deconstruction. This is because it disallows the high-level abstractions (reflecting on the inherent “wrongness” of suicide, how others will feel, even concerns about self-preservation) that, under normal conditions, keep us alive.

While there is a considerable number of people who want to kill themselves, suicide itself remains relatively rare. This is largely because, in addition to suicidal desire, the individual needs the “acquired capability for suicide,” which involves both a lowered fear of death and increased physical pain tolerance. Suicide hurts, literally. One acquires this capability, according to these authors’ model, by being exposed to related conditions that systematically habituate the individual to physical pain. For example, one of the best predictors of suicide is a nonlethal prior suicide attempt.


So there you have it. It’s really not a pretty picture. But, again, I do hope that if you ever are unfortunate enough to experience these cognitive dynamics in your own mind—and I, for one, very much have—or if you suspect you’re seeing behaviors in others that indicate these thought patterns may be occurring, that this information helps you to meta-cognitively puncture suicidal ideation. If there is one thing that I’ve learned since those very dark days of my suicidal years, it’s that scientific knowledge changes perspective. And perspective changes everything. Everything.

Always remember: You’re going to die soon enough anyway; even if it’s a hundred years from now, that’s still the blink of a cosmic eye. In the meantime, live like a scientist—even a controversial one with only an ally or two in all the world—and treat life as a grand experiment, blood, sweat, tears and all. Bear in mind that there’s no such thing as a failed experiment—only data.


This is an abridged version of an article by Jesse Bering.

Befrienders run Mini-Marathon June 06, 2016

June 13th, 2016

Ann, Lola, Mary, Sharon, Marie, Jacinta, Dorcas & Eileen pounded the pavements of Dublin last saturday in the VHI Mini-marathon. Although showers threatened, the weather held for the duration of the ‘race’. Lola, a new edition to our crew took part for the first time. Although she bore a striking resemblence to one of our male members Kevin, Lola denied any knowledge of him. Thanks to everyone who completed the mini-marathon & raised funds for Befrienders Dublin & thanks of course to Our Glorious Leader Ann, without whom none of this would be possible!

Click on the fab thumbnails for a bigger picture!