13 Irish women among Olympic torchbearers
If you’re an early riser, and will in Dublin’s city centre in the morning, you can catch a glimpse of 52 Irish people carrying the Olympic flame through the capital.
The relay starts at 9:30am from the Croke Park skyline and will wind its way north and south of the Liffey, finishing at St. Stephen’s Green at 12 noon.
The route will be via Mountjoy Square North, Gardiner Row, O’Connell Street, Guild St, the Samuel Beckett Bridge, Macken Street, Holles Street, Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dartmouth Walk, Clanbrassil Street, New Street, Lord Edward Street, Dame Street, College Green, Clare Street, Merrion Square.
Among the 52 torchbearers will be 13 Irish women. Here’s a little about each of them, from the Olympic Council of Ireland’s website:
ÁINE NI CHOISDEALBHA – 22, is a Dublin Roller Girl and Trinity College Dublin Scholar. She was awarded a prestigious Trinity Gold Medal in 2011 for outstanding results achieved in her Psychology degree. She is now studying for an MSc in Neuroscience and her research on human perception has made an international impact. A fluent Irish speaker, Áine was also assistant editor of Icarus, Trinity College’s creative writing journal and has published poetry and campaigned for social issues affecting young women. She is also involved in the TCD’s Voluntary Tuition programme for children from disadvantaged areas of Dublin city. Nominated by Torch Relay presenting partner Samsung
NATALYA COYLE – 20, from Ashbourne, Co. Meath, is a Business, Economics and Social Studies student at Trinity College Dublin. She is currently bidding to become the first Irish woman to qualify for Ireland in the sport of Modern Pentathlon (disciplines: swimming, running, equestrian, fencing and shooting)at the London Olympics 2012 She is a Trinity College Dublin sports scholarship recipient and has been nominated by Torch Relay presenting partner Samsung.
ANNE EBBS, 71, from Drogheda, competed for Ireland in three Summer Paralympic Games and became involved in the administration of sport with the Irish Wheelchair Association. In 1987 she set up the Paralympic Council of Ireland and during her 21 years of service she worked for and campaigned tirelessly on behalf of Paralympic athletes in Ireland. In 2008 she received the highest honour of the International Paralympic Movement when she was presented with the Paralympic Order. Nominated by the Paralympic Council.
JOAN FREEMAN – 54, from Dublin, is founder of Pieta House, a centre for prevention of self-harm and suicide that offers a free, professional, face to face therapeutic service to communities nationwide. Joan, nominated by Electric Ireland, was one the People of the Year award winners in 2011 and has several other other awards for her achievements in the area of suicide prevention.
GILLIAN GARRETT – 38, from Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow, is a hockey player, coach and umpire in her community where she has set up a hockey club that now involves more than 150 children. She has represented Ireland in hockey at club, provincial and under-21 levels. Nominated by Torch Relay presenting partner Samsung
ÁINE HOLDEN – 12, from Ballon/Rathoe, Co. Carlow is the winner of a HSE Community Games nationwide draw to represent over 50,000 children and volunteers who compete in the Community Games each year. She is a student at Gaelscoil Carlow and a keen camogie and football player. Áine is the youngest torch bearer in the relay. Nominated by The Community Games
PAMELA LACKEN – 34, from Ballina, Co. Mayo and living in Ennis, Co. Clare is one of 200 winners from over 1,700 nominations in the Lloyds Banking Group’s ‘Making a Difference’ Awards campaign in the UK. She travelled to Athens in 2011 as part of the Special Olympics Ireland team of volunteers at the World Summer Games and also volunteers with the Ennis Eagles Bowling club. Nominated by Torch Relay presenting partner Lloyds TSB
LAUREN LAWLESS – 16, from Dublin, divides her time between volunteering at the Localise Community Service Project with school and sport. She is involved with her Larkin Community College student council, helping students with a project called ‘Face of Homelessness’. She also trains girls’ soccer and Gaelic football at primary school level and has raised funds for the past four years for Our Lady’s Crumlin Hospital. Nominated by Torch Relay presenting partner Coca-Cola Ireland
ALVA NOLAN – 20, from South Dublin, has been a Special Olympics volunteer since 2007 and referees and coaches athletes in the Blackrock Flyers Special Olympics club. She is now a qualified match official and dedicates her spare time to officiating at Special Olympic competitions regionally as well as organising fundraising events for Special Olympics Ireland. Nominated by Torch Relay presenting partner Coca-Cola Ireland
SONIA O’SULLIVAN – 42, from Cobh, Co. Cork will be Chef de Mission of Ireland’s Olympic team at the London Games 2012. Sonia is silver medallist (5000m) from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and is Ireland’s most famous women’s middle distance runner. She previously competed in Barcelona Games 1992, Atlanta Games 1996 and the Athens Games 2004. Sonia won 5,000m gold at the world championships of 1995, plus three European championship gold medals. She was also three times the world cross country champion – a marvelous athlete and an iconic figure in Irish sport. Nominated by the Olympic Council of Ireland
OLIVIA O’TOOLE – 40, from Sheriff Street, Dublin, has won over 130 caps with Ireland’s women international soccer team and was the Irish captain. O’Toole, who retired from international football in 2007, has scored more goals for Ireland than Robbie Keane – a record 54. She is employed at Sheriff Street Recreation Centre as a Play & Recreation worker for Dublin City Council and also trains the Sheriff St. Youth Club football team – continuing the strong soccer tradition in the Inner City. Nominated by Dublin City Council
NIAMH REID-BURKE – 21, from Dublin, is a second year student on the Sports Management & Coaching course at Blanchardstown Institute of Technology. From the age of 12 she has been a member of the National Aquatic Centre’s Spring and Platform Diving Team and represented Ireland at international events on four occasions. Niamh also plays soccer and received her first cap for Ireland when she was 14. She has 36 under age caps and has been on the FAI Women’s Senior International panel for the last two years.
BRIDGET TAYLOR – from Bray, Co. Wicklow is representing her four times world boxing champion and Olympian daughter Katie Taylor. Bridget was one of Ireland’s first ever women’s boxing referees and judges and, with husband Peter, has been vital to Katie’s incredible sporting success to date. Nominated by the Olympic Council of Ireland.