St Mary of the Angels


" A Respite Home For Adults With Special Needs"

Cúnamh Iveragh is a group of parents, families and friends of people with intellectual disabilities of all ages living in the South Kerry area. Cúnamh supports these intellectually disabled people in whatever way possible to improve the quality of their lives and the lives of their families.

There is a need for a Respite Service in South Kerry. There has never been a Respite Service here before. Many of our children have challenging behaviour which makes it difficult for other family members or friends to take them for breaks. This means that most parents never get a break on their own. Our loved ones never leave their parents. Our plan is to renovate a house we purchased in 2013 to HIQA standards , while at the same time ensuring that it is homely with a high level of comfort so that our loved ones enjoy staying there. We do not want to have a house that feels like an institution. Leaving home suddenly and permanently would be a very traumatic event for our children and we feel a phased transition would be much better. We want for our children “ A Home Away From Home “


  • There has never been a Respite Service of any description in the South Kerry area.
  • Currently families are travelling up to 70 miles to Listowel to avail of a Respite Service in a 4 bedroom home that has to cover all of County Kerry.
  • Both the children and the adults are exhausted after this horrendous journey.

Inspirational Stories

Our son, David, is 28 years of age. David has intellectual special needs and has the mind of a five/six year old child. He is a child in a man’s body. We would like to share some of our life and every day experiences with you.

Up until about two years ago, David loved to go out – to a football match, a concert, visiting friends and family and generally meeting people. Unfortunately, this has changed and now he finds it very hard to relax when he is outside of the home. We aren’t sure if this is a fear of the outside world. He is totally dependent on us for his every day needs andalso suffers from mood swings. We cannot ask friends or family to look after David for a night anymore.

David attends a Day Service in Cúnamh House in Caherciveen. He often refuses to go but generally it works pretty well and this is now David’s and Our lifeline. He is with his friends there and with trained staff who know and understand him. Without this Day service, life would be very challenging both for us and for David. He needs an outlet and we, as a family, need a break.

Each and every day of our lives, we worry about the future and what it holds for our son. He needs to get used to leaving us for short periods and get over the fear that he may never see us again. He needs to understand, in his own limited way, that when he leaves us life is not over. We owe it to him to prepare him for the future.

Cúnamh Iveragh are presently planning the setup of a Respite Service in Caherciveen. This would mean that David and his friends would go there for a weekend or for a few nights together every few months. We have never had a Respite Service before so we know that there will be teething problems but we will persevere and hopefully David will get used to this and get into a routine. This service needs to be in South Kerry where David and his friends are familiar with and where the local people are familiar with them. If this works out, we feel that he won’t be as frightened when the inevitable time comes when we will not be here to look after him anymore.

We are delighted to announce that Cúnamh Iveragh Respite Project has been chosen as one of the main beneficiaries from Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle 2019. The funds raised from this wonderful event will go a long way in fulfilling our dream and bringing a much needed Respite Service to Caherciveen.

We ask and urge you to help us to get this Respite Service up and running. We need a large investment to bring Cúnamh House to HIQA standards for Respite Services. Please cycle for us in Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle 2019 and help to bring a little security into our Children’s lives and to prepare them for the future without fear or distress. We love our children and are always aware that they cannot help their challenging behaviour – They were just made different from the rest of us.