As we begin to wrap up 2023, it’s time to reminisce about Active Wicklow’s standout events. These events showcased the variety of opportunities available in Wicklow to get you moving! The year kicked off with the first ever Active Girl Guide event, attracting 100+ girls for a day of active learning. Missed it? No worries – we’re planning an even bigger one next year. From the Marathon Kids finale with Olympian David Gillick to the diverse Bike Week, 2023 celebrated fitness across all ages. Learn to Cycle empowered kids across the county to get on their bikes, including those with disabilities. Her Wicklow, Outdoors Week introduced new sports and engaged 270+ participants, showcasing the many outdoor recreation opportunities available in Wicklow. Let’s all carry this adventurous spirit into the new year, embracing health, wellness, and community.
This year Active Wicklow launched its first-ever Active Girl Guide event on Thursday, February 16th, on the Bray Institute of Further Education (BIFE) campus. The event saw over 100 teenage girls gather from all over Wicklow to attend an active learning day aimed at teaching them more about how to fuel their bodies, care for their minds and train effectively during their menstrual cycle. The day was packed with classes led by top Irish experts including, Irish international basketball player Hannah Thornton, Dr Kiera Ward and Ruth Kavanagh of EduFit, BIFE Sport Co-Ordinator Jennifer Campbell and Bar Monkey founder Jamie Geraghty.
If you didn’t get a chance to join us for this event in 2023, don’t worry! We have plans to make this even bigger next year! Keep your eyes peeled for our socials or sign up for our newsletter to get direct notice straight to your email.
Check out the highlights of the event here:
The finale of the Wicklow Marathon Kids event saw 650 primary school children descending on the Arklow running track to welcome Olympian David Gillick to their end of programme event.
The event was a huge success with children and teachers praising the initiative and the opportunity it provided for young people to stay active and healthy. Speaking afterwards, David Gillick said: “It’s great to see so many young people out here today, having fun and being active. I hope this event has inspired them to keep running and to stay active in the years to come.”
The Marathon Kids eight-week programme targets 5th and 6th class students who learn the health benefits of physical activity and perform four running sessions per week. Over the course of the eight weeks the children run 26.2 miles to complete their first marathon.
The Marathon Kids event, which had children of a range of abilities coming together to celebrate their achievements, could not have taken place without the volunteers from the Arklow Junior Park Run that takes place every Sunday morning at Arklow Duck Pond. These volunteers and the teachers epitomise the dedication required to deliver such a programme and to have a meaningful impact on young people’s lives.
Over 700 children took part in running a marathon over eight weeks in Wicklow. The children were from the following schools: St Coens Rathnew, Gaelscoil Chill Mhantain, Tinahely NS, Crossbridge NS, Coolfancy NS, Scoil Mhuire Na Naird, Carnew NS, Rathdrum Boys School, St Saviours, Our Lady’s School Rathdrum, St Joseph’s Templerainey, Carysfort NS, St John’s SNS and Scoil Naisunta Naomh Padraig Bearncle.
Bike Week in Wicklow concluded with a range of exciting events offering a diverse and exciting range of events that captivated cycling enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.
The Learn to Cycle program was a standout success, with children quickly acquiring fundamental cycling skills.
“We held 23 free Learn to Cycle programmes across 10 locations in Wicklow, providing ample opportunities for children to participate and discover the joy of cycling. Our Learn to Cycle program proved to be a fantastic experience for children. They were riding confidently within 45 minutes and that’s what you want to see!” said Wicklow Sports and Recreation Partnership Coordinator Aisling Hubbard.
In addition, participants enjoyed thrilling activities such as the Pedal &Pamper, Introduction to Mountain Biking, Bike Maintenance Workshops, Seaside Spin & Sauna, and many more.
“It was great to see a diverse amount of events happening during the week all over Wicklow” said Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Emer O’Gorman. “From mountain biking to e-bike tours, there was truly something for everyone!”
Bike Week also extended its impact to schools through the Bike Week School Grant Initiative, promoting physical activity and bike safety among students.
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“The Bike Week School Grant Initiative was a wonderful opportunity for schools. It encouraged a love for cycling among students and promoted a healthy lifestyle!” added, Cllr Tommy Annesley, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council.
Bike Week 2023 in Wicklow has undoubtedly left a positive impact on participants, fostering a love for cycling and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. The event showcased the natural beauty of Wicklow and the endless possibilities for adventure on two wheels.
The Learn to Cycle initiative, tailored for children aged 5 to 12, address the diverse need of participants, including those with disabilities and autism, but also all children who cannot cycle without stabilisers. In 2023, the program was delivered in Autism units in primary schools and community settings. Delivering a total of 11 programs in Blessington, Wicklow Town, Greystones, Tinahely and Enniskerry. These sessions, structured as either six weeks with 45-minute sessions weekly or condensed into three to four consecutive days during school holidays, engaged a total of 78 children, 55 participants had disabilities, contributing to an overall achievement of empowering 62 children to successfully learn how to cycle. The dedicated learning environment maintained a maximum of eight children per session, paired with two tutors. Equipping parents with valuable guidance, they departed each session empowered to support their children’s progress between sessions.
Wicklow Sports & Recreation Partnership significantly broadened the program’s impact by organising Learn to Cycle Taster sessions during the national Bike Week and European Week of Sport. A remarkable 197 children attended these training during these national campaigns, with no charge to the participants. These sessions were conducted with the same tutor-to-participant ratios, ensuring a consistent and effective learning experience. A total of 26 taster sessions took place in 11 different locations, emphasising the program’s commitment to making cycling accessible to children across various communities in County Wicklow. There were 25 children with a disability who participated in these taster sessions.
The annual Her Outdoors campaign ran from the 14th to the 20th of August. This was Active Wicklow’s biggest year with the inclusion of three new sports to the catalogue, skating, gliding and rock climbing! There were over 35 events hosted in Wicklow to showcase the outdoor recreational opportunities available in Wicklow. Over 270 teenage girls and women took part the the active week. This year Her Wicklow, Her Outdoors Week was launched with weatherman Deric Hartigan broadcasting live on Ireland AM from Greystones South Beach. A pop-up event in collaboration with Volleyball Ireland, was created to showcase some of the upcoming events in Wicklow that week. Our Monday launch party in Greystones continued that evening with a Marina Skate Party and Funky Disco yoga.
Check out Deric’s interview with our Coordinator Aisling Hubbard and, Sport Ireland’s Women In Sport lead, Nora Stapleton had to say about the event: