Sport Ireland has partnered with six National Governing Bodies of Sport, to see sports facilities with walking paths open their gates, from this week, to support looking after people’s wellbeing and especially their mental health at this time.

Over the last number of years, hundreds of GAA clubs up and down the country have turned on the lights on their walkways to facilitate walkers during the winter months. This year, a significant number of GAA clubs will once again support the initiative.

They will be joined by five other National Governing Bodies of Sport for the first time thanks to the Government’s Healthy Ireland Keep Well campaign, with the benefit of Sláintecare funding and Sport Ireland partnership which allowed for the broadening out of the campaign.

The opening up of walking routes attached to community and club facilities is being facilitated to allow people of all ages and abilities to have a safe place to walk.

The initiative includes over 600+ walking routes belonging to Athletics Ireland, Cricket Ireland, the FAI, the GAA, Hockey Ireland and the IRFU.

The opening of the walking routes is in line with the current Covid-19 restrictions which allow people to exercise within their county or within 20km of home if crossing county boundaries.

Guidelines have been developed by Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in relation to this initiative.

“We’re delighted to be in involved in finding a temporary solution for more people to get out and walk safely,” said Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin.

“We would like to thank all our governing bodies involved in their generous offering of opening their facilities for more people to walk and look after their wellbeing. We look forward to opening these facilities for sports and training as soon as is possible in the future.”

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen how our local sport clubs groups have made a real effort to support their local communities,” added Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers.

“Through opening their gates and inviting the community to enjoy their facilities in a safe manner is they are continuing this great work and for that, we are very grateful.”


Sport Ireland, Athletics Ireland, Cricket Ireland, the FAI and the GAA, as well as the Department for Tourism, Culture, the Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.


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