Local Faces: Mary McGuigan

By Aimee Walsh

MARY McGuigan is one of the founders of the 168th St Aengus Tymon North Scouts Den, and has been the heart and soul of the group, being involved in the Scouts for over 35 years.

“We moved down here to Tymon in 1975, my husband and I, and we had two children. My husband and a few of the parents got together and decided to form a group - CBSI.

Mary McGuigan 01 1

Mary McGuigan has been with the 168th St Aengus Tymon North Scouts group since 1983


"They got in touch with a few of the leaders from the headquarters of scouts CBSI and we had a meeting and that’s how the unit was actually formed way back in 1983.

“We applied to the county council for the land and in fairness they did give us the land so we started fundraising and the den was built by the parents and friends of the unit, they were all volunteers. We gradually went from strength to strength”, Mary tells The Echo.

“I have been there since 1983, since we started. I started out as secretary and then got roped into one hour a week, two hours a week and I’m still there and still enjoy it. We have great kids and they all enjoy it and we have a great bunch of leaders, you can call on them at any time for anything.

“I enjoy going camping with the kids up to Larch Hill or wherever we go, I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it.”

Mary says that although she has seen some changes in rules and regulations over the 35 years in the scouts, the core principals at the heart of the Scouts remains the same.

“Nothing has changed over the 35 years in the scouting end of things, but we all have to be garda vetted and take training courses now.

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Mary McGuigan

“The scouting end of it is still the same as way back then. They still go camping, cook their own meals and when we go on a hike, they do their route card. They have to investigate where they’re going, the scouting end of it is basically the exact same as it has been for years.”  

Mary explained that without the contribution and help from the leaders in the Scouts Den they wouldn’t be where they are today.

“We have had great parents and brilliant leaders. We couldn’t do it without the leaders and we all work together. We’re all equal and work together and do our own little bits.

“We are a very strong unit and our kids have all come up – we have some of our leaders now that were beavers many years ago. A few of our leaders now have been with the unit now for 30 years.

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Mary McGuigan

“It’s our own place, and a lot of groups aren’t as fortunate as we are to own our own, but we have our own big den so we make use of it – inside and outside.”

The Scouts aims to teach kids valuable life skills that they can carry with them, whilst taking part in fun activities, both indoors and outdoors.

“They love cooking their own meals and lighting fires, believe it or not. They are taught to be self-sufficient. 

“The beavers, they pack their own little haversacks and we give them a list of what to bring and they tick it off their list, and we even have beavers camping now. 

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Mary McGuigan

“It is very good for the kids, because it instils in them that they can be self-sufficient and look after themselves - basic life skills are what we teach them. 

“There is a discipline in it, and I think that is very important. Their badge work is part of the discipline and their uniform is part of the discipline, but they all enjoy it. 

“I think the kids all enjoy it because they turn up to everything, I think that’s a good sign.”

Due to current level-5 restrictions, the Scouts Den has not been able to operate, but Mary says hopefully they will be back to their usual activities once it is safe to do so.

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Mary McGuigan says they are all looking forward to getting back to their usual activities once it is safe to do so

“We have scouts on Monday night, cubs on Tuesday nights and beavers on Wednesday nights and then the weekend we would maybe do sleepovers, camps, hikes, all outdoors, but we can’t do that at the minute. 

“Our last visit to Larch Hill was December 8, so we are all looking forward to getting back.” 

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