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We have a funny Christmas story to share with kiddies before Santa comes and it’s written by one of our talented brain injury survivors, Michael Hopper.

A Prawn Cracker Christmas…


It’s December in the North Pole and Santa is locked out of his toy room.  His shed is frozen solid and there’s a tornado on the way.

Santa has a big frown on his face, he’s sobbing, and he is knocking on a door.

On the other side, 42 elves were cranking the machines in the toy room.

“NO, NO, NO.” Santa is shouting “let me in, let me in”.

The elves were laughing, “Ho,Ho,Ho” and “Ha,Ha,Ha”.

They had locked Santa out and taken over his job.

Next thing a delivery boy arrives with a Chinese take-away,

“What’s the matter Santa? Why are you crying?”

“The elves have locked me out of my toy room and they have taken over my job,” sobbed Santa.

“I’m really sorry Santa,” said the delivery boy.

He handed Santa a plate of sweet ‘n’ sour chicken balls, egg fried rice and prawn crackers.

But Santa was so upset he turned the food upside down in the snow.

The elves could smell the food outside and they were terribly cross.  They hadn’t eaten in the past 43 millennia because they were so busy.

“It’s all your fault, Santa,” they cried. Then they broke down the door only to find Santa sipping a glass of mulled wine.

“Hi kids!” Santa was suddenly merry and bright.

“Will you help me deliver the toys?” asked Santa.

“And I promise you all Chinese food when we come back?”

The elves grabbed cups of mulled wine and toasted Santa.

“Ho, Ho, Ho!” they sang as the reindeer pulled the sleigh across the sky.

All the children in the world were happy to see their toys under the Christmas tree.

But the children were very surprised to find a packet of prawn crackers in each parcel!!


The End


Roving presenter Malachy Murray (played by FM104’s Terry Fahy from Tullamore), is ready to release his charms on the people of Offaly in our upcoming Valentine’s Ball fundraiser. And Malachy’s most pressing decision between now and then – is which cravat to wear at this year’s spectacular black-tie event! Malachy is famous for those lovely awkward moments where his interviewees don’t quite know what to say. He is a well-loved character in the midlands.

“Nothing speaks of love like a burly man in formal attire…”

Malachy said: “My New Year’s resolution is to bring as many of the delightful people of Offaly to the doors of the Tullamore Court Hotel on 16th February. On the night, I promise to rekindle the dim flicker of romance right here in the midlands. To the men I say, nothing speaks of love like a burly man in formal attire with a healthy dash of Old Spice aftershave. To the ladies I bid you come join me for a glittering evening. I’ll sing, I’ll sparkle, I’ll look ravishing. You’ll love it!”

Saturday, 16th February 2019

February 2019 marks the second year of our glamorous black-tie fundraising event. It is organised by our Acquired Brain Injury Ireland team in Mountbolus to raise vital funds for neuro-rehabilitation services for our brain injury survivors. The Valentine’s Ball will take place on Saturday 16th February 2019 in the Tullamore Court Hotel. The event includes a drinks reception at 6.30pm, a four-course meal, music entertainment, dancing and lots of great raffle (& Auction) prizes to be won.

Making life better after brain injury

Our Local Services Manager, Martin Nunan who works in our service in Mountbolus, said: “Our team is delighted to bring a second Valentine’s Ball to the midlands. We’ve got an unforgettable line-up for everyone who joins us. It’s pointless trying to resist the charms of our hilarious host Malachy Murray so you might as well give in and buy a ticket! Funds raised from this event make an enormous difference to our work. We believe every brain injury is unique and we champion personalised rehabilitation plans for all our brain injury survivors. Ultimately our goal is that our clients won’t need us anymore. By joining us on the night, not only will you enjoy an incredible experience but you will also help to make life better for people with brain injury right here in the midlands and around the country.”

53 brain injuries in Ireland every day

As many as 19,500 brain injuries happen in Ireland every year from causes including stroke, road traffic accidents, falls and assaults. That’s 53 people every day – men and women of all ages – acquiring a brain injury that can affect their lives and those of their family for months and years after the initial injury. In Offaly, our Mountbolus service is working to rebuild the lives of more than 160 brain injury survivors across the midlands (Offaly, Laois, Longford and Westmeath).

Every donation helps

Our Chief Executive Barbara O’Connell said: “Brain injury is a hidden phenomenon in Irish society. Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them. Our neuro-rehabilitation and family support services offer a vital lifeline to help people rebuild their lives nationwide. After brain injury, many people experience problems with memory, fatigue, judgement. Many need support to help them relearn everyday activities. We support 1,200 people and their families each year through our personalised, clinically-led rehabilitation programmes. Thanks to the generous donations from events like our Valentine’s Ball, we can help even more people get back to living their life in the community.”

Tickets on sale now!

Tickets for our Valentine’s Ball on 16th February are priced at €60. To order tickets by phone contact Natasha Olohan in our head office on 01-2804164 or email

If you’re in Offaly – pop into your local Acquired Brain Injury Ireland service near you in Mountbolus to collect tickets in person!


Here at Acquired Brain Injury Ireland we are experts at goal setting as we help hundreds of brain injury survivors relearn vital skills and rebuild their lives.


Your purpose

We’ve all set goals that are perfectly good but somewhere along the way we’ve lacked the motivation to achieve them… and the goals fall by the wayside.

With our brain injury survivors, it’s important that goal setting is aligned to the person’s own sense of purpose so they are motivated in making progress with their personalised rehabilitation plan.

And this applies to you too. We look at the whole person – who they are, what they are good at, what they like, what interests them? These are useful questions to ask. Aligning goals to your own sense of purpose and sense of soul is crucial to your success. Anything else is not authentic to you.

Look at your goals everyday

Write them down! Writing down goals in a plan is an important start to make them real. Even better, put your goals on the wall where you can see them every day.

Our brain injury survivors look at their goals and reminders every day to keep them on track to achieving success in rebuilding their lives.

Find a goal buddy

Find a goal buddy to share your goals with and keep you on track. You’ll have more success if you’re accountable to someone and have support.

Our rehabilitation assistants and keyworkers regularly check in with our brain injury survivors to track their progress.

Your goal must be important to you

Rehabilitation is full of ups and downs and so is any goal worth achieving. Change won’t happen overnight – it takes time and commitment. That’s why your goal has to be important to you so you can find the drive to keep going.

Know the roadblocks

It’s a good idea to write down possible barriers or obstacles that could cause you to lose motivation. By writing down potential roadblocks before you start, you can make a plan to overcome them. Plus you won’t lose heart and better able to take the rough with the smooth to stay on course and achieve your goals.

If you found this useful and would  like to help more brain injury survivors achieve their goals in 2019,  join our Never Say Never Club here.


Ho ho ho! We are thrilled to celebrate 15 years in Limerick this festive season – it’s the icing on the Christmas cake! Limerick 15 Year anniversary


In fact, our Limerick service was one of the early flagship locations for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s unique neuro-residential homes when it opened its doors in 2003.  From there it went from from strength to strength and it wasn’t long before it expanded to provide rehabilitation in the community as well.

Now as we celebrate 15 years, our local services manager Alan O’Connell who has worked with the organisation for more than a decade, remembers the first time one of his residents achieved their goals to move out and live independently.

A feeling of pride and reward

Alan said: “It’s hard to describe the feeling of pride and reward that comes when a resident reaches their goals to progress to the next stage of moving back home. As we celebrate our 15-year anniversary ahead of Christmas, it’s a lovely time to take stock and remember those incredibly special moments. A particular memory for me was in 2008 when one of the original residents was the first to move out to independent living. Ultimately our goal is to rebuild lives so that our residents need us less and less until they no longer need us at all.

“It is just brilliant to see how this man went from intensive neuro-rehabilitation 24/7 in our Limerick house down to a visit once a week from our community rehabilitation assistant.  He has come full circle after his brain injury caused by a car crash from being unable to prepare his meals, manage his medication and deal with social situations. Now he maintains his apartment, cooks for himself, has completed training courses and is looking for work. Now that’s worth celebrating.”

A home from home

A ‘home from home’, our Limerick service offers long-term tailored neuro-rehabilitation and support to four residents in a house at a given time. Each resident has an individual rehabilitation plan with their own goals to relearn vital skills and maximise their independence in a safe and homely place on a 24/7 basis. While our community rehab team delivers one to one support to help brain injury survivors achieve their goals at home.

Alan continued: “Like any home, the kitchen is a real hub in our Limerick house where all the action happens! With support from our rehabilitation assistants, residents prepare their own meals and they have a rota for cooking dinner for everyone. It’s a real family affair. We’ve got plenty of enthusiastic bakers in the house and they’ve been hard at it rustling up tasty nibbles for the celebration.”

Since it began, our Limerick service has supported 14 people through residential neuro-rehabilitation and the community service supports 50 brain injury survivors at a given time. Of course we cannot celebrate 15 years in Limerick without a word from our Chief Executive Barbara O’Connell who is delighted to mark this great milestone.

Our staff makes the difference

She said: “Our Limerick service has been at the heart of rebuilding lives in the Midwest of the country. We give people their lives back. This week we are delighted to celebrate our 15-year anniversary in Limerick to mark the incredible journeys of our brain injury survivors and the tireless dedication of our staff. Neuro-rehabilitation takes time. It requires the ability to see things differently and think outside the box. Every day Alan and his highly skilled team bring their passion to brain injury survivors in Limerick and that’s what makes the difference.”

If you would like to support the work of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland this Christmas, you can make a donation at or call us on 01-2804164.