Maeve & Brendan’s Story

The Murphy family pictured with An Taoiseach Micheal Martin outside Crann. Includes mother Maeve, father Felipe, brothers Brendan and Felipe and sister Clara.

Maeve is Brendan’s mom. Brendan is 6 and has a physical disability which means he uses a wheelchair full time.

“He gets that he is different that way,” says Maeve. “What he can’t understand is why there are no fun things he can play with nor equipment he can use independently with his friends at playgrounds. ”  

Brendan is like any other kid. “He is full of fun, loves adventure, is highly creative. We try and give him as many experiences as we can — days at the beach, at the woods.” But it’s not always easy for the family.

“I do a lot of lifting and carrying Brendan to make sure he doesn’t miss out. Thankfully I am small so when we visit playgrounds, I can go on the slide with him and lift him over things and help him out but he is getting older, he wants to do stuff himself now and like all kids, he doesn’t want to have his mum following him all the time.”  

Maeve and Brendan live with Brendan’s father, Philip, sister Clara and brother Felipe. When we were designing the Playground & Leisure Area we got feedback from families about their past experiences and what would make the space ideal for them.

“Speaking with the Crann team and the UCC researchers, Helen and Alice, was the first opportunity that we, as a family, had a say in something that was being designed for families like us”.

“They took the time to speak to us and to other families living with a physical disability to find what is most important when it comes to play, to socialising and to living in a safe way. They incorporated our findings into the design.”  

When asked why he was excited about the playground, Brendan told us ““I’m excited about the new playground cos it has a pizza oven and a pirate ship and lots of space to wheel around!”

Maeve says that she hopes this design can be a blueprint for what play areas can be in the future. For creating truly disability-inclusive spaces.

The Murphys pose in a stone archway. They are surrounded by moss and rocks, and stand over a small stream. Father Felipe holds Brendan, while sister Clara and brother Felipe pose behind them.
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