Welcome to Laois Sports Partnership   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to Laois Sports Partnership

HER Outdoors Week took place from 14th-20th August 2023. HER Outdoors week aims to celebrate and encourage more females to get out and enjoy the benefits of being in the outdoors while bringing visibility to the opportunities for females to get involved in outdoor physical activity.

The week provides an opportunity for ALL females to escape to the outdoors and try something new. For such a tiny island, there are so many incredible outdoor activities on offer, and this should be celebrated to the fullest! #FindYourOutdoors

Laois Sports Partnership collaborated with lots of local partners to bring a fun, outdoor schedule of events to Laois! 13 specific events were organised for HER Outdoors week with a further 8 ongoing programmes tying in/concluding with HER Outdoors week. (Schedule of Events below)

In total, over 360 females took part in events delivered during the week, with over 200 participating in HER Outdoor specific events.

 EventTook Part
1Wellness Walk Heywood24
2Soccer Skills n Drills21
3Womens Social Kayaking – Tues13
4Social Cycle Vicarstown0
5Intro to Gym Techniques5
6Wellness Walk / FitSticks Emo34
7Womens Social Kayaking – Wed23
8Swimming Women15
9Try Tennis10
10Gaelic 4 Mothers & Others Taster Session43
11Cadbury’s FAI Kickfit ProgrammeTBC
12Survivalist Camp16
13Womens Social Kayaking – Thurs15
14Girls Kayaking / Paddle Boarding15
15Viacrstown Parkrun54
16Social Cycle with Laois Cycling Club10
17Yoga in Nature10
18SFAM Ballinakill12
19Junior Parkrun Vicarstown26
20Junior Parkrun St Fergal’s College, Rathdowney5
21Laois Kayak & Canoe Club – Clashganny10
Specific Programmes to HER Outdoors206

All Events – Her Outdoors Week 2023

Wellness Walk – Heywood

Our ‘Wellness Walk’ took place in the beautiful surroundings in Heywood. 24 participants were led by instructors Donie and Caroline on a leisurely 5km walk which started at the Gate Lodge passing by Heywood Gardens and lakes, woodland and some exciting architectural features. Upon return all participants were treated to refreshments.

The ‘wellness walks’ are physically beneficial and are also developed to help people relax in the outdoors, experience an activity in a group, encourage people to look at surroundings in a way they may not have been aware of. The walks are gentle, and the experience will be inclusive. The walks are led by Donie and Caroline who has extensive facilitation and community engagement experience. The walks are 3km – 5km, will be moderate in pace, and with a duration of 1-1½ hours. The walks are designed for adults of any age and have moderate terrain underfoot.

Soccer Skills and Drills session for women with FAI Development Officer Clare Conlon – Clover Utd. Rathdowney

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, there’s always room to improve and take your game to the next level. 21 ladies turned up to Clover Utd grounds for an introductory Soccer Skills and Drills session with FAI Development Officer Clare Conlon. A quality session was delivered to a very enthusiastic group with talks of forming a Clover Utd Women’s team upon completion of the session. Watch this space!!

Women’s Social Kayaking – Vicarstown

52 women took part in our Kayaking Taster Sessions on the canal at Vicarstown. The 2 hours sessions introduced participants to kayaking that may have want to try it out but didn’t know where to start. SVT Kayaking club assisted in the delivery sessions with many of the participants expressing an interest in becoming members with the club after partaking in the sessions.

Social Cycle – Vicarstown

Unfortunately, due to limited resources the SVT Activity and Wellness Hub were unable to deliver the Social Cycle during HER Outdoors week. The Vicarstown Social Cycle typically takes place every Tuesday during the summer months. Departing from the Old Schoolhouse, Vicarstown at 7pm, talking a nice easy flat 8Km route on the road to The Fishermans Thatched Inn where we will stop for refreshments and a chat, before taking the road back to Vicarstown on road via Courtwood. Guaranteed good fun and relaxation. This cycle is suitable for all levels of fitness.

Gym Techniques Taster for Women – ALL4Fitness Rathdowney

7 women took part in this introductory session to the gym environment. The session, ideal for beginners and those new to the gym, was delivered by ALL4Fitness in Rathdowney and outlined the benefits of exercise and proper gym techniques. Participants were encouraged to become gym members and offered a discounted rate for their first month.  

Wellness Walk / FitSticks – Emo Court

Our ‘Wellness / FitSticks Walk’ took place in the beautiful surroundings in Emo Court. Led by instructors Donie and Caroline, 34 participants warmed-up in the new car-park area at Emo Court before heading off on a leisurely walk through the lovely surroundings with refreshments waiting upon their return.  Fitstick Wellness Walks focus on people with impaired fitness levels using the walking poles – or ‘fitsticks’ – and are ideal for older people and those with reduced mobility, strength or balance issues. This was ideal for the participants from Muíriosa Foundation who took part in the event. The Muíriosa Foundation supports individuals (and their families) with an intellectual disability and/or autism to live self-directed, connected and fulfilling lives.

Cadbury’s FAI Kickfit Programme – Durrow Lions

Cadbury Kick Fit is a new pilot programme that will run for eight weeks this summer and is a fun, non-competitive social programme for women with the primary aim to keep fit and create a social group, while encouraging recruitment of coaches and players to clubs. It is managed by each club and supported by FAI Development Officers and FAI Women’s Football Programme Coordinators.

Try Tennis – St. Fergal’s College, Rathdowney

Try Tennis Taster Session for Females aged 16+ with Professional Tennis Coach

Swimmin’ Women – Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming Pool

30 women registered the Swimmin’ Women (Aqua Aerobics) 9-week programme delivered in partnership by Laois LSP and Swim Ireland, with an average of 15 women participating weekly. The programme, specific for mid-life females, took part in the fabulous Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming Pool. The group, led by instructor Naomi, enjoyed the aqua aerobics (a mix of strength and cardio workouts which is done in the face of water resistance) session two times per week.

Gaelic 4 Mothers & Others Taster Session – Borris-in-Ossory Kilcotton

The Gaelic4Mothers&Others initiative sees women playing Ladies Gaelic Football in a fun, non-competitive and social environment. Gaelic4Mothers&Others provides an opportunity for women to get their recommended weekly exercise in a fun way while meeting other mothers in the area. Borris-in-Ossory Kilcotton G4M&O’s team currently have 43 ladies in our group who meet to train or have a match every Wednesday night in Kilcotton GAA grounds. For a small club the initiative has been hugely successful particularly in providing fun physical activity for ladies of a predominantly inactive age group. The social & fun element to the set-up is what keeps them all coming each week. They recently took part in their first blitz and hosted their first home game.

Survival Skills Camp – Derryounce

2-Day Survivalist Skills Camp for girls and boys aged 10 -14. The camp will be run by Survivalist Ireland and over the 2 days in Derryounce those on the camp will experience Survival+ camping skills, fire making, shelter building, orienteering, team games and challenges.

Girls Kayaking and Paddle Boarding – Castletown

15 teenage girls took part in a 2-hour taster kayaking and paddle board session in Castletown with Matt McGrath from Paddleworks Ireland. It was the first time experiencing paddle boarding for most with many expressing an interest in taking up paddle boarding as a new hobby.

Female Social Cycle with Laois Cycling Club – Portlaoise

In the wake of #stormbetty 10 women joined Laois Cycling Club for a FREE social cycle from Portlaoise to Emo Court and back. The leisurely 25km cycle departed Right Race Cycles stopping off in Emo Cort for refreshments before returning back to Portlaoise.

‘Yoga in Nature’ with Alice in Yogaland – Vicarstown

10 ladies took part in a very enjoyable and relaxing ‘Yoga in Nature’ event in Vicarstown. Led by ‘Alice in Yogaland’, the day started with a 50-60min boat tour on the Barrow Line Canal a branch of the Grand Canal skippered by local man Anthony. The boat cruise at a slow leisurely pace, gave participants a chance to take in the rural surroundings & enjoy the beautiful & diverse countryside around us. On disembarking the group returned to Vicarstown Old School for our 1-hour yoga class before finishing with a relaxing yoga Nidra. All were then ready for chats over a welcome cuppa & home baked treats!

Vicarstown Parkrun / Junior Parkrun Vicarstown / Junior Parkrun St Fergal’s College, Rathdowney

Vicarstown Parkrun takes place every Saturday morning at 9.30am along the canal. As part of #HEROutdoors week all women were encouraged to come and partake in the Parkrun with an aim of getting 30 women to complete the run in under 30mins. Over 50 females took part in the Parkrun on 19th August with over half completing the run in under 30mins. Well done to all, and many thanks to all the volunteers who give their time to ensure there is a Parkrun for all every week. Junior Parkruns took pace in both Vicarstown and St Fergal’s College, Rathdowney on Sunday morning.

Parkrun is a free, community event where you can walk, jog, run, volunteer, or spectate. parkrun is 5k and takes place every Saturday morning. junior parkrun is 2k, dedicated to 4–14-year-olds and their families, every Sunday morning. Parkrun is positive, welcoming and inclusive, there is no time limit, and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along.

Swim For A Mile – Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming Pool

After partaking in 9-week programme delivered in partnership by Laois LSP and Swim Ireland, 21 participants (12 females) took part in the Swim For A Mile finale at the fabulous Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming Pool. The Swim For A Mile (SFAM) Challenge is an initiative aiming to encourage people to get back into the pool and become confident, life-long swimmers. The programme has been designed with the World Health Organisation’s recommended weekly physical activity in mind, and so those who follow it will be meeting these standards automatically. The initiative began in 2013 with thousands returning to the pool in the years since to swim a mile. The programme is open to those aged 12 and older, and we also run a half mile (800m) option for those who think the full mile is just out of reach.

Laois Kayak & Canoe Club – Clashganny

Laois Kayak and Canoe Club held their own in club event for #HEROutdoors week in Clashganny. 10 club members enjoyed a kayaking session. The club is involved in many different types of kayaking and canoeing, ranging from white water river-running and canoe polo to freestyle play boating and flat-water racing. The club aims to introduce everyone to the sport of kayaking, and caters for every level of skill, from complete beginner to expert paddling. The club is affiliated with Canoeing Ireland (ICU) and has its own ICU qualified instructors. All paddler training and progression follows Canoeing Ireland’s skills award programmes, and our club can certify to this standard.

Her Outdoors Week Gallery

Click on the image below to view all photos from Her Outdoors Week.

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