Trinity College Dublin and Athletics Ireland Launch Community Athletics Hub at Iveagh Sports Grounds

New scheme announced at former Guinness Athletic Union grounds

In collaboration with Athletics Ireland, College has recently launched a ‘Community Athletics Hub’ at Trinity’s Iveagh Sports Grounds, Crumlin, Dublin 12. Supported by Sport Ireland, the project is part of the nationwide Community Sports Hub initiative and is funded through Dormant Accounts. The initiative has been running since 2015 and has seen great success all around the country, with many thriving Hubs, from West Cork to Donegal, acting as the ideal safe, community-based location for exercise.

The goal of the Iveagh Grounds’ new Hub is to increase athletic participation (including recreational walking, jogging, and running) and physical activity across all ages within the local community and among students and staff in Trinity College Dublin. A project team has been set up to oversee the planning and development of participation-based interventions and programmes which will be hosted at the hub, with the recent appointment of Community Athletics Hub Co-orditor, Cameran Molloy Moules. Moules has vast experience in sport participation, having spent the past number of years working at Sport Ireland as a Cross Collaboration Project Coordinator.  

Dr Linda Doyle, Provost and President of Trinity College Dublin, commented: “The Trinity College Dublin Community Athletics Hub at Iveagh Sports Grounds is a wonderful project, it is a great opportunity to foster a deeper connection with the local community and offer new opportunities for people to get involved in athletics and physical activity. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this hub will have on our community.” 

Trinity College purchased the Iveagh Grounds site in 2017 for €2m after a three-year negotiation process. The Grounds consists of a 17-acre site which encompasses GAA, rugby, hockey, and soccer pitches, as well as a bowling green and a pitch-and-putt course. Located in Crumlin, Dublin 12, the Grounds are a convenient 15-minute cycle from College, and are particularly advantageous to members of the College community living in the city’s southside.

Everything we do at Trinity Sport is about helping people to participate more in sport and physical activity so that they can reach their potential”

Matthew Dossett, Deputy Director of Sport and Physical Activity at Trinity College Dublin, said at the launch: “We are thrilled to partner with Athletics Ireland and Sport Ireland to launch the Community Sports Hub at Iveagh Grounds. Everything we do at Trinity Sport is about helping people to participate more in sport and physical activity so that they can reach their potential. We would like to thank Sport Ireland for providing funding for this initiative and we look forward to collaborating with Athletics Ireland to ensure the ‘Community Athletics Hub’ at Iveagh Sports Grounds is a success. We hope that through this collaboration, we can create a lasting impact in the community, and that this hub will provide people with a safe space to participate in athletics and physical activity.”  

The path to the Grounds’ success has not been entirely smooth, however. College bought the Grounds from Diageo, while they had seen exclusive occupation from the Guinness Athletic Union (GAU). The GAU still use the Grounds and as of 2021 were reportedly disgruntled that pledged improvements by Trinity to the Grounds had not yet been completed. 

College put this delay down to difficulties caused by Covid-19, and the post-pandemic era has certainly helped the Grounds to progress. Trinity LGFA trained there for “most of the 2021/22 season”, and players were quick to praise the convenience of the Grounds compared to the traditional trek to Santry necessary for the Gaelic games teams of Trinity. Ground was also broken this year on the pledged improvements to the Grounds, and combined with the opening of the Community Athletics Hub, it seems as though the investment is indeed finally blossoming for Trinity.

Rachel Ormrod, Director of Participation at Athletics Ireland, commented: “Athletics Ireland is delighted to partner with Trinity College Dublin on this new and very exciting Community Athletics Hub initiative. This collaboration aims to promote and encourage participation in all forms of athletics (including recreational walking, jogging and running) across all age cohorts. Through the Community Athletics Hub we will be able to offer a range of participation opportunities specifically for people within the community. Sport Ireland’s investment in the hub, via the Dormant Accounts fund, is a significant endorsement for this initiative that will hopefully serve the community of Crumlin and provide opportunities for people in the community to access and engage in athletics.  We very much look forward to working closely with people in the community to ensure the success of the Community Athletics Hub for all to enjoy and experience.”   

Shane Califf, Director of National Governing Bodies at Sport Ireland, expressed enthusiasm for the project’s potential impact: “Sport Ireland are delighted to support this collaborative initiative between Athletics Ireland and Trinity College Dublin, which highlights our commitment to promoting grassroots sports and physical activity. The Community Athletics Hub will serve as a central hub for fostering a love for athletics while encouraging people of all ages and abilities to engage in regular exercise. The launch of the Community Athletics Hub, which is being supported via the Dormant Accounts Fund, marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to cultivate a thriving and active community in Dublin. Sport Ireland looks forward to witnessing the positive impact it will have on the lives of individuals within the local community.” 

Cameron Molloy Moules as the Community Athletics Hub Coordinator, commented at the launch: “It is a real honour to become the coordinator of this brand-new Community Athletics Hub here at the historic Iveagh Sports Grounds. I believe this hub is perfectly located in a wonderful, vibrant community, with whom we hope to build meaningful connections through sport and physical activity. This project represents another important step in the continuous efforts to create opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds, ages and abilities to get active, to explore athletics, to socialise and to feel part of a community.”  

To get involved in the Trinity College Dublin ‘Community Athletics Hub’ at Iveagh Sports Grounds, please contact Cameron Molloy Moules, Community Athletics Hub Coordinator at [email protected]. Cameron and team are eager to connect with individuals, organisations and community groups who are interested in athletic participation and physical activity. 

Jane Prendergast

Jane Prendergast is Co-Sports Editor of Trinity News. She is a Junior Sophister student of Law.