6 December 2019
By Elaine Murphy
2020 will mark the 44th year of Cork’s Over 60’s Talent Competition. Started in 1977 by Paddy O’Brien, Ireland’s biggest Over 60’s talent competition recognises the need for people to have an opportunity to interact and socialise with each other as they get older.
As people age, it’s more likely that they will lose touch with the people around them through no fault of their own. This can lead to peoples’ lives becoming increasingly more solitary. The Over 60’s Talent Competition actively combats this by encouraging people to get out and get involved again with people of a similar age and similar circumstances.
Paddy O’Brien has witnessed the positive impact that the competition can have on the lives of older people across Cork time and time again. “I’m thrilled that the Cork Over 60’s Talent Competition is now entering its 44th year. The continued success of the competition goes to show the strong need for community involvement that the older people of Cork have. No matter what your talent, be it singing, dancing, or even telling a funny story, we would be delighted for you to come along to the heats and take part in the festivities.”
It is the biggest over 60’s event in Ireland, which provides a sense of connection and camaraderie for people. The competition is not just for members of clubs, but is open to anyone in the age bracket who would like to take part. Aside from the social inclusion the competition provides, it also creates the opportunity to revive old songs, and gives amateur performers the experience of what it’s like to put on and be part of a professional show.
The Cork Over 60’s Talent Competition operates across Cork City and County, with participants taking part in heats in their localities. In the spirit of good fun, people can take part in as many of the heats as they please. To spread awareness of the competition and to get as many areas involved as possible, Paddy still actively goes out to new localities to speak to the people who are interested, explaining the process of the heats, and how successful participants will then go on to compete against representatives from other Cork communities in the final concert, which takes place annually in Cork City Hall.
Over the years, the competition has helped countless older people reintegrate into their local community, giving them a new-found sense of belonging. Aside from the benefits to the people which are directly helped, the proceeds collected from Cork Over 60’s Talent Competition are all donated to charity. Since 1991, the main beneficiary of proceeds has been the Irish Heart Foundation, which has received over €600,000 to date.
The first heat of the competition will take place on Wednesday 1st February at St Vincent’s GAA club, Knocknaheeney, organised by Cllr. Kenneth Collins, and everyone is warmly invited to come along and take part. For anyone looking for more information about the first heat, Cllr. Collins can be contacted on (087) 929 3904.