Grab a cuppa and join Miriam O’Callaghan at the launch of the Irish Dementia Café Network

HSE Media Release: 17 September 2020

The virtual launch took place with representatives from the dementia network and people living with dementia and their family carers participating and was hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan.  This network brings together the 21 existing dementia cafés, across 15 counties.  These cafés are an important community resource for people living with dementia and family carers.  They are a key part of the dementia post-diagnostic pathway. The dementia café provides an informal way to meet others living with dementia and to meet health and social care professionals. With constraints on social gathering as a result of Covid-19, many of the cafés have gone on-line, hosting regular virtual café meet-ups following the same principles and ethos of the café model.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, T.D., said: “Dementia cafés are part of a large range of post-diagnostic supports but are often the first step people take into formal services after they receive a dementia diagnosis. They have proven to be a valuable asset in their communities and the creation of a national network to assist current and future cafés in reaching out to people with dementia and family carers are most welcome.”

Dr Emer Begley, Senior Project Manager, National Dementia Office said “Dementia Cafés provide people living with dementia and their families with an informal way to meet health care staff and to link in with other families.  Having a network of 21 cafés across 15 counties improves the lived experience of people with dementia and their families.  I hope by launching the official model for the café network and the website www.dementiacafé.ie, will encourage other communities to set up a dementia café”.

Sinéad Grennan, CEO of Engaging Dementia, said “The dementia café is a community-based service that provides peer support and information for people with dementia and their families, within a welcoming café atmosphere.  We are delighted to have managed this project, and worked with cafés nationwide and an Expert Advisory Panel, to develop a shared model for dementia cafés in Ireland, and a café network. We are looking forward to the launch of the café network and supporting current and start-up dementia cafés nationwide.”

Kevin Quaid, Co-ordinator Memory Café Kanturk, said “I want the dementia café to be a safe place for people with dementia and their carers. I also want people to feel less afraid of dementia and that it’s ok not to be ok because there is help there.”

Helena Quaid, Family Carer said “I would like to impress upon other carers the need for support structures such as the Dementia Café. We are so lucky here in North Cork to have Dementia Advisor, Amy Murphy. She supplies us with lots of brilliant informative literature that we can pass on to those in attendance and of course she also attends quite regularly herself and her input is invaluable. Even though our dementia café is a social get together, it is also very informative and supportive to the person with Dementia and their carer.”

The HSE commissioned Engaging Dementia to establish an Irish Dementia Café Network.  This was undertaken with Dormant Account funding through the Department of Health.  Dementia cafés are following HSE public health guidelines and are planning a safe re-opening in the coming months.

Find out more about joining or setting up a dementia café.


Last updated on: 16 / 09 / 2020