Latest Laois Sports: Laois Sports Partnership April Update

Latest Laois Sports: Laois Sports Partnership April Update

Update on Laois Sports Partnership Activities in April

 Walking Programme (6-Week)

We are currently in the middle of a 6-week walking programme that began in April. This programme is taking the opportunity to explore Laois and provide participants with a new landscape and experience each week. So far, we have walked the trails in Derryounce, Heywood and Abbeyleix. 

Week 1 of our walking programme in Derryounce happened to be an accumulation of important dates. The 7th of April is World Health Day, the first National ‘HELLO’ Day and the birthday of one of our fantastic and long serving tutors Donie Molloy. To celebrate these significant days, we took a walk around the beautiful trails in Derryounce which exist thanks to the amazing work of Donie and the other volunteers. Along the walk we spoke about the HELLO technique and the importance of reaching out to those around you, highlighting that the smallest of gestures can mean so much to someone who needs it. We joined together to wish Donie a Happy Birthday and at the end of the walk provided all the walkers with a snack pack and some leaflets to recognise World Health Day.

In week 2 of the programme, we visited the beautiful Heywood Gardens followed by a trip to Abbeyleix Bog Walk for week 3 where Garry Luttrell gave participants an insight into the history of the bog. 

For more information or to join the walks, contact Eimear on 0860111722.

Blazing Saddles Programme in action

Blazing Saddles

We held a learn to cycle camp at the beginning of May in Laois Leisure Portlaoise.

The programme which took place over 3 days aimed to help children learn to cycle in a safe and supportive environment while still giving them the freedom to learn themselves.

A combination of ‘balance bikes’ and supported cycling were used over the 3 days. Balance bikes are bikes with pedals removed, this allows users to push themselves and experience balancing their bike without the help of stabilisers.

Those who advanced from balance bikes were either capable of cycling on their own, or with the support of one of our tutors. Each child progressed massively over the three days, with some taking to cycling like a duck to water and others coming very close. 

Blazing Saddles Programme in action

The pictures on the final day show clear skies however this wasn’t the case all week. We were faced with tough conditions of wind and rain in the first two days. So a special thanks goes to all those who helped over the three days especially, Charlie, Amy, Fionn and Lee along with every child who kept smiling throughout.

The feedback from parents was fantastic and reminds us of why we do the work we do, it’s great to see someone benefit from our programmes. 

“Even with his autism she had so much patience and got him going and almost there.  We will keep practicing with him, we really appreciate the time and encouragement she gave him over the 2 days.”

“Thanks so much to you and your team from LSP for teaching Scott how to cycle. It’s a brilliant programme.”

Blazing Saddles Programme in action

“Thanks very much to you and all the team, Ellie really enjoyed learning how to cycle. This is such a great achievement for her”

“Thank you and your team for your hard work and dedication over the past 3 days. You were all outstanding, and regularly went over and above”

“Thanks so much for the opportunity to set our little man off on his bike, he just needed that environment, to be brave and take off. It’s such a wonderful idea and is executed so well. Massive, genuine thanks to all involved.”

Laois Gets Irelands First Fit Sticks Trail

Today some of our Activator Poles participants joined for a walk along Ireland’s first Fit Sticks Trail in Derryounce, Portarlington. The Derryounce Fit Sticks Trail is funded by Healthy Ireland Laois, administered by LCDC Laois County Council. Fit Stick Trails are designed as a solid flat surface with a low incline making it very appropriate for those with poor balance. Along this particular trail, there are various signposts with exercises for participants to execute including a warmup station at the beginning of the trail. 

Fitsticks Trail 1
Fitsticks Trail

This trail will be a fabulous addition to the county of Laois and benefit so many of the groups we work with and those in the community. The groups that we deal with are Men’s Shed, Parkinson’s Group, Woodlands for Health Mental Health Group, Older Adult Groups, Care centres for people with disabilities with intellectual & physical disabilities.   Participants have found the use of the poles/ fit sticks very helpful with posture, gait and mobility & strength.  

Through Healthy Ireland Laois we were able to purchase activator poles from Fit Walk Ireland and deliver programmes throughout Laois. We have seen the benefit of these poles to participants and that is when we approached Frank Fahey about installing an activator trail in Derryounce which is funded by Healthy Ireland Laois.

The social aspect of the classes is as important as the exercise, these are all done at one’s own pace, always light-hearted and ending with a sing song. 

Since 2020 we have delivered 16 programmes throughout Laois and trained up tutors to deliver these programmes.

For more information on our programmes contact Eimear or Catriona.

Eimear:  0860111722                                                           

Catriona: 086793523

Get Autism Active

Couch to 5k

St. Fergal’s College, Rathdowney 1st year students recently completed a 6-week couch to 5k running programme. At the end of the 6-week programme, a final 5k run was held at the school.

The run was organised by Rathdowney Errill Community Sports Hub Coordinator, Shane Keegan and assisted was by 6th year prefect Ella Hayes.

85 1st year students took part on the final run, with TY students assisting in the running of the event.
The participants began with a warmup which included some light jogging and stretching. The students then commenced the run, with all participants completing the 5k. Sweets and water were provided for all the runners after the run.

All participants were entered into a raffle for a number of One 4 All vouchers, Councillor John King was in attendance on the day and picked the winning names out.

A special thanks to student, Ellen Meaghar who captured some excellent photos of the event

Well done to all involved for a fantastic effort.
If your school is interested in taking part, Contact Eimear: / 086011172

Get Autism Active

Get Autism Active

We were delighted to have a session with Dr. Susan Crawford from Get Autism Active on Sunday 10th April in Portlaoise GAA. This course is very beneficial for any coaches or volunteers in sport.

Take a look at some of the pictures from an extremely enjoyable session. Below is an outline of the morning.

A. Preliminary session
1. Introductory warm up walk/ easy jog.
2. Proprioceptive stretches.
3. Diaphragmatic breathing/meditation.
4. Group exploration of activity programme planning and content: identify key enablers and constraints to participation.

B. Main Group Session: selection of balls, bats, benches for balance and stepping.
1.Divide into smaller Groups and create practical packages to apply principles from Session A.
2. Underlying principles of locomotor, manipulation and balance/coordination will dictate these.
3. Fine Motor Components.
4. Demonstration back to main group.

C. Practical Application with Children:
1. Children are introduced and each group applies their session in real time with the children.
2. Reflection during the session and afterwards on what worked, what didn’t and what to include next time.

D. Closing summary and take-home messages

A big thanks to Dr. Susan Crawford for a fantastic delivery and well done to all involved.

Bealtaine Festival 2022

For the month of May the Arts Office, Laois County Council invite people of an older age to join in some of the wonderful events that are happening in Laois for the Bealtaine Festival 2022. Take a look at some of our upcoming events during the festival.

Bealtaine Festival 2022

5th May: 

Walking Programme, Thursday, 11.00 AM – 12.00 PM – Emo Court

9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th : 

Wellless Walks, Monday, 11.00 AM – 12.00 PM – Portlaoise Leisure Centre

12th May:

Walking Programme, Thursday, 11.00 AM – 12.00 PM – Glenbarrow Waterfall

17th & 24th May:  

Sit-Fit Programme, Seated Volleyball and Scooch, Tuesday, 11.00 AM – 1.00

PM – Portarlingon Leisure Centre

31st May: 

Sit-Fit Programme, Seated Volleyball and Scooch, Tuesday 11.00 AM – 1.00 PM – Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix

Upcoming programmes

Below is a list of some of our upcoming programmes. For more information or to register for any of the above programmes, contact Eimear: 0860111722 /


This women’s cricket programme ‘CricHIIT’ will run in Laois Cricket Club, Stradbally on Tuesdays for 5 weeks. This programme will start on May 3rd until May 31st and is FREE to join. Included in the programme will be a BBQ on May 3rd and May 31st.

Walking Programme:

6 week walking programme running every Thursday until the 12th of May. Each week we will explore a new walking trail in Laois.

Get into Golf:

Beginner Golf Programme running for 6 weeks including 6 lessons with Golf Pro Starting Mid May. The total cost is €60. Starting Tuesday 3rd May 2022 at 7:00 pm. Equipment will be provided. For further info contact: Rovena 085 7187031, Siobhán 086 8933330

Couch to 50k (Cycle):

This 8-week cycling programme is starting in May and will be every Tuesday Portlaoise.

Family Inclusive Cycle:

Family Cycle in Vicarstown on 20th May at 6:30pm -7:30pm.