The special summer ball has raised well over €15,000 to support local people with disabilities.

The first No Barriers Foundation charity ball was a feast of glitz, glamour and generosity in the beautiful Castle Grove Country House on Saturday 8th June.

Over 90 guests turned out for the black tie summer soirée hosted by the Letterkenny-based non-profit group. The night was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of No Barriers so far and to generate support for their future goals.

Early estimates suggest that around €15,400 was raised on the night through kind donations, raffle entries and a lively auction.

The No Barriers Team: David Hone, Johnny Loughrey and Stephen McNally with Rachel Leontis at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Stephen and Labhaoise Maguire with Sharon and John Gildea at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Noirin, Sonia and Seamus McGarvey at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Ann-Marie Fogarty, Siófra Nic an Bhreithiú, Gerard Moyne, Frank Fogarty and Sarah Maguire at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

The life-changing benefits of the No Barriers services were highlighted in words, videos and demonstrations before the meal.

In his speech, No Barriers Director Johnny Loughrey explained how the foundation was established in 2016 to provide specialist rehabilitation services in the north west.

The non-profit group successfully raised enough funds last year to buy an Exoskeleton Robotic Suit to enable people with spinal injury, stroke, MS, brain injury and other conditions to walk and exercise. No Barriers now employs two full-time staff to deliver this unparalleled walking therapy.

No Barriers Director Johnny Loughrey speaking at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Gerry McCabe demonstrating the exoskeleton robotic suit at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Gerry McCabe demonstrating the exoskeleton robotic suit at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Special guest on the night was Gerry McCabe, who demonstrated the impressive Exoskeleton suit by walking through the Castle Grove ballroom with his wife Dolores.

Gerry, who is from Dundalk, has been a wheelchair user since 2004 after sustaining a spinal cord injury in an accident. His dream of walking again came true thanks to a major fundraising campaign by his friends and family which helped him buy his own Exoskeleton.

Gerry talked about the physical and mental benefits the suit brings him, saying: “It’s life-changing. Before this I had all sorts of problems. Since I started walking the change in me and the change in my family is unreal.”

The No Barriers committee announced that the Donegal suit would now be named Gerry in honour of the inspiration that Mr McCabe has brought to their efforts.

Gerry and Dolores McCabe at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

A selection of No Barriers service users also shared their stories in a video which was screened at the ball. They talked about the strength, mental uplift and physical improvements they have gained from regular use of the exoskeleton.

“No Barriers wouldn’t be anything without the patients that are using the suit. We are really driven forward by the emotion we get from them,” Johnny Loughrey said.

Video display at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Johnny explained that there is still much more to do. Money raised from the ball will be used to cover staff wages to continue delivering the low-cost therapy, while No Barriers also aim to create a new inclusive gym environment in Donegal.

Guests got behind the foundation by making generous donations to a raffle, which had a large number of incredible prizes from supportive businesses. Charlie Robinson led a thrilling auction with one-of-a-kind sports items and experiences, artwork, beauty treatments and a cruise all up for grabs.

Lisa Loughrey and Liam Leech enjoying the auction. Photo by Stevie Toye, Logopix

Castle Grove also welcomed celebrity Chef Gary O’Hanlon, who created a delicious five-course menu especially for the occasion.

Entertainment was provided by Letterkenny band RAW and DJ Keith Fletcher, who both had guests on the dancefloor long into the night.

Chef Gary O’Hanlon. Photo by Stevie Toye, Logopix

Karoline Sweeney and the Castle Grove Team. Photo by Stevie Toye, Logopix

RAW Band. Photo by Stevie Toye, Logopix

The fundraiser was hailed as a great success for the No Barriers Foundation. You can visit NoBarriers.ie or visit the Facebook page to find out more about the organisation. 

Event organisers Johnny Loughrey, Sharon Gildea and all the committee would like to sincerely thank all businesses, groups and individuals who attended and everyone who has supported the important cause.  A special thanks goes to Damien Blake for choosing to support No Barriers with match funding from Google.

Johnny Loughrey and Rachel McLaughlin at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Nuala McIntyre, Sarah McGinley, Roseleen McGinley, Bridget McGinley and Martina Drummond at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Mary and Damien Blake at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

David Fisher and Sam Robinson at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Thank you to the following sponsors of the No Barriers Charity Ball:

  • Atlantic Travel
  • Castle Grove Country House Hotel
  • Harveys Point Hotel
  • Oakfield Park
  • Patrick Gildea Hairdressing Letterkenny
  • Evolve
  • Artist Jacinta Callaghan
  • JT Physio
  • Lemon Tree Restaurant
  • McElhinneys 
  • RSC Strength & Conditioning
  • Donegal Food Tours
  • Yellow Pepper
  • Fit Hub  
  • Arena 7
  • Muff Liquor Co.
  • Shandon Hotel & Spa
  • Portsalon Golf Club
  • Artist Laura Buchannan
  • Foys
  • Station House
  • Kinnegar Brewery
  • Rosapenna Golf Club
  • Fitzgerald Private Clinic

Johnny and Noelle Duffy at the No Barriers Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Chloe McLaughlin, Anna Farren, Gabrielle McMonagle and Rachel McLaughlin at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Breda Canning and Jamie Lee Murray at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

John Gildea and Sharon Rouse at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Ryan Mason and Lisa Buchanan at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Chloe McLaughlin, Kevin Dooher and Anna Farren at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Lorna Spratt, Henry Spratt, Theresa Foley and Mark Foley at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Rachel McLaughlin and Sharon Gildea at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Chris and Alecia Frize at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House

Noreen McGarvey and Paul McIntyre at the No Barriers Foundation Charity Ball in Castle Grove Country House