Conversation is at the Centre of Community

There are a number of things that are unique about Ireland –  the national anthem is still played to end nights  in regional nightclubs across the country, “I’ll ring liveline” is a valid threat and we are all amateur meteorologists. But arguably, the Irish ability to  chat is just about as unique as it gets, we are the world leading conversationalists.  Conversation is one of the most humanising things we do.  we need more boredomTwo or more ​people share thoughts and feelings, ​ideas are ​expressed, ​questions are ​asked and ​answered, or ​news and ​information is ​exchanged. Mastering Irish small talk is a skill. One shouldn’t appear over enthusiastic, never reveal too much and always refrain from telling the actual truth. There are rules. Chat was once the currency of choice in Ireland, some cynics may suggest it’s our tendency to gossip, but face to face conversation is the foundation that our communities are built on. And community is an essential element of our wellbeing. A sense of belonging to a greater community improves motivation, health and happiness (Pretty et al., 2007).

But conversation  is a skill we are losing, and with it the fabric of our community may be disappearing.   As a group the millennial generation have become the dominant generation not only in our workforce, but now also in our communities.  We love talking about what millennials know,  we commend their brilliance with technology, social media and the “iWorld” . Yes, millennials might arguably  be one of the most intelligent generations to come around. However, that’s not to say they still don’t have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to face-to-face communication. Because for them Emojis are the simpler way to communicate quick emotion, but at what cost? It’s always easier to send a message because of  the ability to edit a message. Even for the most mundane of conversations, younger generations have always had the time to think something over. This not only removes a sense of vulnerability but the raw emotion that could come with it. Young people aren’t getting the chance to practice more challenging face-to-face conversations: inviting someone out, declining an invitation, apologising for an offence…….. coping with awkward silences – just send a WhatsApp. So, even though we are more “connected” than ever, we are counter-intuitively becoming more isolated. These digital connections are artificial and robbing us of true community experiences, our conversation.


Working together in a group starts with conversation. It can inspire intrinsic motivation, turning effort into enjoyment (Carr and Walton, 2014). So now that you are inspired to become a contributing “community member”, what about joining a running club? Running clubs are not  only for overly-healthy, fanatical, type-A, pioneers with bad knees who never take a day’s off. These are preconceived notions, not only does running in a group initiate great improvements in performance, like any team sport it creates camaraderie and lasting memories. On wet, cold mornings after drinking too much wine the night before,  the commitment to running with a group will force the donning of the lycra. For some it may get the competitive juices flowing again. Many will unearth previously hidden talent and realise their potential.  They’ll have the opportunity to compete against and run with runners of similar ability or better. Others will enjoy easy group jogs and just having the “chats”.


Carr, P. B. and Walton, G. M. (2014) ‘Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 53, pp. 169-184.

Pretty, G., Bishop, B., Fisher, A. and Sonn, C. (2007) ‘Psychology sense of community and its relevance to well-being and everyday life in Australia’, The Australian Community Psychologist, 19.


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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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