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Stories | 08 July 2021

Culture Near You: Aideen O’Connor from the Dublin City Sport and Wellbeing Partnership

Aideen running the 2016 Dublin marathon, with support from Rian

Aideen running the 2016 Dublin marathon, with support from Rian

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Culture Near You is an online map of culture in Dublin.

We’re constantly adding to this cultural map so we get to meet lots of the great people featured, and we thought you might like to meet them too!

For this blog series, we’re meeting the makers, the movers and shakers, the partakers, and the doers of the map - to find out more about what they do in the city.

You can find out more about Culture Near You and how to get involved here.

Meet Aideen O'Connor

Aideen is the Programme & Services Development Manager of the Dublin City Sport and Wellbeing Partnership. She told us all about her passion for running, her favourite Dublin sporting moments, and what she's most looking forward to.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your role at Dublin City Sport and Wellbeing Partnership?

I have worked in the sports and recreation section of Dublin City Council since the time I came into the Council at 27 years of age. I began as a Sports and Recreation Officer and then Sport and Active Living Coordinator of the old Dublin City Sports Network, then when the new Dublin City Sport & Wellbeing Partnership was established I was managing the sports officers for a short time before I got the position of Centre Manager for Markievicz and Irishtown Stadium. Three years later I then returned to the Sport and Wellbeing

Partnership as Programmes and Services Manager. It’s safe to say that my job is an extension of my passion for sport and physical activity.

There are several Sports Officers working across the Dublin City Council administrative areas - can you tell us a bit about what they do?

Well there are more than several in fact we have 21 Sports Officers who deliver sport and physical activity programmes to people of all ages and abilities across the communities of the city by supporting, encouraging, and promoting an active lifestyle through a variety of programmes. They develop excellent relationships and rapport with key groups, organisations and leaders in their communities so they can all work towards one common goal.

Do you have any standout or memorable sporting moments from your time with the Dublin City Sport and Wellbeing Partnership?

I have quite a few and I have been very lucky to have met some amazing sporting heroes of mine over the years of working with DCC. Some great moments for me were working on the 2012 Olympic torch relay that came to Dublin and meeting all those sporting heroes in one room! I also worked on the UEFA 2011 Europa League final at the time, which was a great experience to be involved with. To be honest some of the Lord Mayor 5 Alive Races have been extremely memorable helping people cross the finishing line and sharing in the their experience.

What’s your favourite sporting activity?

Running, it’s a huge part of my life and I couldn’t be without it. It keeps me sane, focused and happy.

If you had a dream sporting project or event you’d like to see in the city, what would it be?

We have done many events in the past and some fantastic sporting ones, but a whole citywide event would be great! Due to Covid we have had to think outside the box and one of the events we were originally hoping to go live with was a Be Active Bingo Night - instead we went virtually and it was a huge success in terms of engagement. So we’re continuing to work on ideas for projects and events that can be adapted.

What advice do you have for someone who might like to become more active but isn’t sure where to start?

It can be overwhelming for someone who wants to start but doesn’t know how, my advice would be to go to their local DCC community centre or sports centre and there will be plenty of information available to them there. They can look on our Dublin City Council website to contact their local sports officer and also use the Culture Near you Map to see what is happening in their area.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Dublin?

Well I love running and it can take me on some very scenic routes. I also love our parks and some of the markets that are there. Getting outdoors and being active is always good!

What are you most looking forward to at the Sport and Wellbeing Partnership in the coming weeks and months?

I am most looking forward to the sports team getting back into the communities and engaging with the people, but also for the Sports Officers to get back to doing what they do best which is providing support, encouragement, guidance and motivation.

It will be also great to start getting some of yearly events back up and running, adapted in line with any restrictions in place, but I’m particularly looking forward to our Marathon Kids programme that starts in September followed by European Week of Sport and our annual flagship event Sportsfest. We are in the planning stages at the moment and it will be challenging for us as a team to see what and how we can deliver in a safe environment but we have plenty of ideas.

I’m also looking forward to the brand new Creative Residency in Sport, which is very unique opportunity for an artist to work with a sports club in the city.

Lastly, what has been your favourite or most surprising discovery on the Culture Near You map so far?

I particularly like the “Explore your options“ tab, it’s very simple to navigate and there’s plenty of super information there too.

Bio

Aideen has over 25 years of experience in working in the areas of sport, physical activity, and fitness She is extremely passionate around motivating people to get active and her current role is the Programmes and Services Manager for the Dublin City Sport & Wellbeing Partnership. Mam to Rian (age 7), she’s a marathon runner, Clonliffe Harriers club member, and coaches the local under 10’s GAA team.

Discover more

If you’d like to discover ways you can take part in sport in your area, visit Culture Near You and select your neighbourhood and “Get Active” to see what you might find.

If you’d like to take the next step, you can get in touch with your local Sports Officer here.

There’s still time for artists to apply for the Creative Residency in Sport.