Healthcare professionals needed for athlete screening at Ireland Games!


While Special Olympics Ireland may be most well-known for its sports training & competition , another programme that makes a huge difference to the lives of our athletes is the Healthy Athlete Programme.

The Healthy Athlete Programme provides health screenings, health education and resources to athletes, in a fun and welcoming environment.

People with intellectual disabilities are at increased risk for a number of preventable health conditions, and experience higher mortality rates


The Healthy Athlete Programme aims to address this by increasing access to health care professionals, and increase awareness of the healthcare needs of people with an intellectual disability.

Cáit Donnelly is responsible for the Healthy Athlete Programme and is the the National Lead for Health & Wellbeing initiatives in Special Olympics Ireland.

“Ireland Games is a very exciting time for the Healthy Athlete Programme, as we see the return of FUNFitness & Healthy Hearing for the first time since 2006, and most importantly we are offering Strong Minds for the first time ever. The Healthy Athlete Programme will offer our athletes a holistic experience during the Games and continues to highlight the important link between health & sport”

This June, 1600 athletes will get the opportunity to take part in the Healthy Athlete Programme and avail of health screenings in all 7 disciplines. An army of 300 volunteers is needed to achieve this. If you are a qualified or trainee health care professional then you can play your part in changing or improving an athlete’s life by volunteering to be a part of the Healthy Athlete Programme at Ireland Games

You will have a direct impact on the lives of some of the most inspiring and dedicated athletes in the country, you can make a difference and change a life!

Register today on


If you have any difficulties registering please contact Volunteer Services on  0818 300 053 or

Meet some of the Irish Healthy Athlete Clinical Directors :

Rebecha McAuley – Hard work, Dedication, Commitment

Rebecha McAuley describes what it takes to become a Special Olympics Athlete.

“Let Me Win…” – The opening of the Special Olympics motto. Rebecha McAuley knows these words. She knows that if she cannot win, she must be “brave in the attempt.” It’s the motto that Rebecha will repeat when she lines out for Eastern Region at the Special Olympics Ireland Games in June. For now, they are not words to say. They are words to live by. Every single day.

You can see the sportswoman in this Bray native as soon as you meet her. She is kind, funny and outgoing. Underneath? The drive of a champion. She admits it herself.

“I like a challenge,” says the 25 year old. “Badminton is really good for that. You have to run, you have to move. You have to hit those shots over the head when you can. The better you are, the higher the level you can play at.”

Rebecha grew up in a Lakers Special Olympics Club uniform – Their name inspired by that great team of the 1980’s and stellar names like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As a basketball club formed in Wicklow in 1989, their American namesakes were being dethroned as NBA champions. Abdul-Jabbar retired at the end of that season, but the showtime continued in Bray. Lakers added a bowling team. Then came recreational activities like art and cooking.

Almost 30 years later, Lakers Social & Recreational club has 314 registered members and 54 sessions a week. Rebecha is one of 41 athletes who will swap canary yellow for sky blue this summer. They have two Sports Officers ensuring they represent their region in peak condition. One of them is Graeme Hillick.

“It takes an awful lot of hard work, dedication and commitment for athletes to prepare for Ireland Games,” says Graeme, who will also attend the Games as a football coach. “It’s much more than just being selected. Rebecha is training up to six days a week and that’s just to compete in badminton.

“It starts with looking at her shoulder rotation. Jumping jacks and kettle bells replicate movement and strengthen her upper body. Lower body exercises help to get her around the court and the right cardio will keep her stamina up for the tournament. You have to be willing to put in the graft and Rebecca certainly is doing that.”

Ireland Games is in year three of Special Olympics Ireland’s four-year cycle. She has already come through local and regional advancement to be eligible for Ireland Games.

“I train so hard from the first to the last,” she says. “I got selected when I came back from holidays in Spain. The letter went through the letterbox at home. I opened the letter and they said I got selected for the 2018 Ireland Games. It was so exciting.

“I can’t wait for June. I’m going to try my best to fight for Gold.”

We’re getting to know Rebecha the sportswoman, now. With a role model like Katie Taylor, all that fighting talk makes sense. Then, all of sudden, you hear something new – something that makes her stand apart. Now, she is much more than a sports woman. She is a Special Olympics athlete.

“I’m going to meet new friends. I’m going to be nice to people. Make sure they’re okay. If anybody get’s hurt I’ll be there to help them.”

She wants to win. That’s why she’s there. Gold is great, but it won’t give you the time of your life. That’s what Ireland Games is about for all 1,500 athletes headed from the 32 counties to the capital. Fighting for gold is nothing without friendship.

“You get so much happiness and excitement out of it. It’s about challenging yourself. Try your best then have fun.” Challenge accepted.

You too can become part of this excitement. Volunteer at upcoming  Special Olympic Ireland Games to help athletes like Rebecha reach their full sporting potential.

If you are a resident of Ireland aged 16 or over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you

A busy training weekend in Ulster

From Coleraine To Lisburn Ulster Athletes Train Hard with only 101 Days to go until Special Olympics Ireland Games in June. 

Almost 240 athletes took part in the largest Ulster region Ireland Games training session of 2018.  The excitement was palpable across the five separate venues which spread from Antrim to Lisburn, with equestrian taking place in Coleraine RDA.

The friendly competitiveness at the training sessions in all regions are beginning to heat up, with the Ireland Games only 100 days away. This was apparent in the Antrim Forum in which athletics, basketball, swimming and football teams displayed some serious skill and fitness during two and a half hour long training session.

10 Ulster Region Athletes practiced their dressage in the Coleraine RDA which “provide recreational and therapeutic riding and sporting opportunities for persons with a disability”.

The Bocce training session was held in the Jim Baker Stadium in Templepatrick.

Lisburn city was awash with high energy as athletes were welcomed into the Lisburn Bowl centre, the National Badminton Centre and the Salto Gymnastics Centre. Badminton, table tennis, bowling and gymnastics created a fantastic atmosphere across the city, one which can only be topped by the athlete’s participation in the highly anticipated Ireland Games.

If you would like to be part of this atmosphere, there are still opportunities to volunteer at the games.

If you are a resident of Ireland aged 16 or over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you


Dean Rock – Put to the test

GAA star and Special Olympics sports ambassador Dean Rock plays his part ahead of the Ireland Games.

Some Ireland Games athletes, along with GAA star Dean Rock, had there acting and sporting skills put to the test yesterday during a promotional video shoot for the Ireland Games. The videos, which will be released soon, feature athletes scoring goals and winning races ahead of the upcoming Ireland Games in June.

The videos are a feature of the Play Your Part campaign, which sets to call on  volunteers around the country to team up with the Special Olympics and Play Their Parts in order to help the Ireland Games reach their huge potential.

Daniel Byrne who will be playing football in the upcoming Games, made his acting debut, kicking some impressive shots even under the added pressure of a camera tracking his every move. Dean and three of our fastest athletes payed little attention to the camera however, as they sized each other up ahead of a hundred meter sprint.

Special Olympics athletes share the consensus that it’s the ‘taking part that counts’, however when given the opportunity to show up a Dublin GAA star on the track, it is apparent that winning is always high on the agenda of our top athletes. The afternoon set the tone of the upcoming Ireland Games. The Special Olympics staff got a glimpse of the athleticism, skillfulness and competitiveness that will feature in the upcoming games, and soon so will you. Watch this space to hear the latest about the Play Your Part campaign and the Ireland Games preparation.

Help the 1600 athletes including those involved in today’s shoot, achieve their goals by volunteering.

If you are a resident of Ireland aged 16 or over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you

Toastmaster training for Ireland Games Athletes; Not Just Sport

Tara Toastmasters Group visit Special Olympics Eastern Region to give world class media training workshop.

Training has intensified on the pitches, in the pools and on the tracks but improving their sporting capabilities isn’t the only aspect of training for our Ireland Games athletes.

A public speaking workshop was held in the Special Olympics Eastern Region office in Abbotstown Tuesday evening. Tara Toastmasters, a club which aids the communicative development of individuals globally, began their talk at 7:00pm , giving tips and tricks to help athletes convey their  messages on camera and when addressing a group.

Competition was still high on the agenda however with a pancake flipping competition taking place in the office canteen just before the public speaking and media training began.

Athletes were also asked to discuss their training programmes and aspirations for the upcoming Games during an on-site camera interview, which will be released soon. Although  gold medals are part of the plan for all our athletes, Margaret Turely describes  the consensus that appears common across all Special Olympics sports that “it’s all about participating and not about winning”.

Margaret, along with the other athletes in attendance of the workshop, were shown skills revolving around their body language, volume of voice and overall demeanour when speaking publicly. A few of the Special Olympics staff were spotted paying close attention to the facilitators as they gave some world class advice and tips.

Some volunteers, along with mentors and parents were also in attendance, as it is likely that the cameras may swing their direction in preparation and also during the games.

Volunteers, athletes parents will put these skills to good use in June, when the 2018 Ireland Games commence.

Volunteering positions are still open for the games. If you are a resident of Ireland aged 16 or over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you

Games training intensifies in Eastern Region

Eastern Region athletes pick up the pace as training for Ireland Games intensifies.

The countdown is on for our athletes as the Ireland Games draw closer. The first weekend of February marked one of the largest gatherings of the Special Olympics community in months, with 14 sports taking place across an incredibly busy few days.

Athletes worked hard to improve their performances in sports such as the challenging kayaking at the Salmon Leap Canoe Club, to the exhilarating equestrian which took place at the Cherry Orchard Equine Center.

The training sessions which were spread out across the 3rd, 4th and 5th of February also provided an opportunity for our hard working athletes to double up and discuss game plans and strategies. Newly established table tennis teams competed against each other at the Holy Child Community School, Sallynoggin.

Golfers were practicing at St. Margaret’s Golf and Country Club and were shown a thing or two by Leonard Owens, a member of the Professional Golfers Association.

A huge thank you must go to Leonard and all other volunteers who helped create an electric atmosphere over the weekend.

If you are a resident of the island of Ireland aged 16 and over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer to be a part of the 2018 games. Volunteers play a huge roll in the activities of the Games and volunteering can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you

Ireland Games athletes brave the cold in Kilkenny

Ireland Games training is officially underway following an action packed weekend in Kilkenny.

The cold January weather has not dampened the spirits of our athletes as they kitted out in Kilkenny this weekend to take part in training for the Ireland Games. A large range of sports provided plenty of high paced activities creating an electric atmosphere in the Watershed Complex in Kilkenny City center. The bustling state of the art leisure center has a wide range of facilities, both indoor and outdoor, allowing the Ireland Games athletes to take part in athletics, badminton, basketball, football, swimming and table tennis.

Other nearby venues hosted adventure sports like equestrian and kayaking. Golf, bocce, bowling and pitch & putt also took place over the afternoon. Upcoming regional training days like this have been organised nationwide in preparation for the Ireland Games taking place in Dublin from the 14th to the 17th June.  1600 athletes are preparing to descend upon Dublin to represent their regions and clubs by competing in 14 different sports over the 3 day period.

2018 also marks the 40th anniversary of the Ireland Games. This is a huge milestone in the history of an organisation that has grown to give athletes all over Ireland a chance at reaching their sporting potential.

If you are a resident of the island of Ireland aged 16 and over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer to be a part of the 2018 games. Volunteers play a huge roll in the activities of the games and volunteering can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you;


Christmas Newsletter 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 we would like to thank all of our athletes, volunteers, clubs, staff, Board Members, Patrons and Sponsors for your amazing support throughout the year.

2018 will be another great year for us all, we will celebrate the 40th Anniversary and the Special Olympics Ireland Games will be back in Dublin in June for the first time in 16 years!

Please enjoy our Christmas Supporter Update 2017 which has all of the updates from a very busy 2017!

Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to you all.

Special Olympics Ireland



Sound Production (Music and Sound!)

The music and sound of the Ireland Games is key in creating a high octane atmosphere as spectators, family and coaches fill the bleachers in anticipation of the competition that is about to unfold in front of them.

For 3 days this June, you can be the voice of the biggest sporting event in the country! We are currently recruiting energetic and enthusiastic people to volunteer and bring the Games to life.

Announcers are needed in all venues to inform the public of any public, safety and competition announcements as well as MC’ing at the Award Ceremonies which will take place in all venues across all sports.

This role will put you at the heart of the action as 5 Delegations battle it out in 13 sports. While knowledge of the particular sport is beneficial, there is no live match/game commentary so it is not essential.

If you are interested in public speaking, have experience in broadcasting or PR or just like to talk on a microphone and would like to have the experience of a lifetime then please register by clicking right here and select “Sound Production” or contact Caroline via our Facebook Messenger today.

We are also urgently recruiting Sound Production Volunteers at a Venue Management Level. If you like the sound of the above but would prefer a co-ordinator role then we have a spot for you! Training is about to commence for Venue Managment Teams and we would love to have you on our Sound Production Team.

To read more about any of the roles go to our volunteer page and scroll down to Volunteer Areas

whatever your skills, experience or interest you will find a role for you here. You will never regret the decision to #playyourpart in the the 2018 Ireland Games!!


Calling all Doctors, Nurses and Physiotherapists!!

We are currently seeking volunteer doctors, nurses and physiotherapists to support the Ireland Games in Dublin from June 14th-17th.

Your skills, training and experience are needed to ensure that the 1600 athletes competing in over 13 sports have the highest quality of medical support and care as they compete in the biggest sporting event of the year.

Louise Tinne  (RNID) has been a Medical Volunteer with Special Olympics Ireland for 13 years . Over this time she has volunteered on the Medical Team at numerous Regional Events as well as European Youth Games in 2006 and World Summer Games in Athens in 2011 and LA in 2015.

“Thirteen years later being part of the medical team with Special Olympics has been rewarding, exhausting and addictive. To watch the face of families as their child/sibling participates at national or world level is so rewarding. Watching the faces of the entire place as tears flow freely as medals are won and lost….you will experience emotion like never before!! And know you have played a small role in supporting and making this happen there really is no better way to give your free time”. 

Louise Tinne, SOI Volunteer and RNID

If you are a qualified nurse, doctor or physiotherapist and would like have an experience of a lifetime at the biggest sporting event of the year then please REGISTER TODAY!!

We are holding 3 Information Sessions specifically for Medical Volunteers and would love to meet you. Come along, hear more about the roles available and ask any questions you might have.

Info Evening 1                  Thursday 1st February 2018 at 7pm in the Campus Conference Centre, National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown


Info Evening 2                  Thursday 8th February 2018 at 7pm in the Campus Conference Centre, National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown


Info Evening 3                  Thursday 15th February 2018 at 7pm in the Special Olympics Ireland Offices, National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown


If you can attend one of the above sessions please confirm your attendance to

If you cannot attend one of the above evenings but are interested in getting involved, please register here

Yours in volunteering,

The Ireland Games 2018 Volunteer Team