After the success of the inaugural “Ireland Light’s Up” campaign earlier in the year, the GAA are delighted to be once again teaming up with RTÉ’s Operation Transformation and Get Ireland Walking, to make exercise more accessible on the dark winter nights.
More than 150 GAA clubs across the country participated in this exciting initiative in early 2018, with more than 5,000 walkers taking to their local GAA pitch each week to walk off the Christmas excess, catch up with neighbours and banish the winter blues.
Walkers benefitted by being able to avail of the GAA facility being lit specifically to facilitate their walk safely.
The GAA now want to double this figure in 2019 and are encouraging all clubs who meet the criteria to sign up.
John Horan, An Uachtarán Cumann Luthchleas Gael said: “In every corner of the country our network of clubs plays a crucial role in contributing towards a healthier Ireland. The benefit of this particular initiative is that this appeals to young and old, players and non- players, with benefits for everyone.
“The New Year is always a time when many people look to get out and be a bit more active and the Ireland Lights Up initiative allows them to do that safely within their community and among friends and I’d be confident that we can meet the ambitious target of 10,000 people that has been set for 2019.”
Ireland Lights Up encourages GAA clubs to switch on their floodlights/lighting systems every Thursday between 7pm-9pm for a five- week period (January 17 th – February 21 st, 2019) as RTE’s Operation Transformation returns to our screens for its 12 th series in the New Year.
The launch of the campaign took place in Ballyboughal GAA, County Dublin – a club who took part in the initiative earlier in the year.
Healthy Club Officer, Joanne Cahill said: “We had no idea what numbers we would get, but we had 150 walkers, maybe even more, every week. They were coming from everywhere with cars backed up. There were groups of people, families, kids, every walk of life. The walking track in the club is somewhere you can go for a safe walk because there is really nowhere around Ballyboughal and people don't like walking on the dark roads in winter.”
Jason King, National Programme Manager of Get Ireland Walking said: “Get Ireland Walking are delighted to be part of Ireland Lights Up 2019. More and more people now identify with the positive benefits of walking and its through initiatives such as this in partnership with the GAA, that provide safe walking environments for communities and club members to stay active and engage with, in particular over the winter months. The walking tracks are not just for winter and when spring comes around communities have a great base to build upon. Together we can ‘Get Ireland Walking’.”
Interested clubs can sign up by simply going to GetIrelandWalking.ie, reviewing the criteria and registering online.
The closing date is Friday 7 th December. During the five- week period Operation Transformation cameras will visit a selection of participating clubs across the series, with all clubs encouraged to capture their stories via videos and images for use on the show, GAA.ie, and RTE’s various platforms.