50 years ago, Eunice Kennedy Shriver established Special Olympics in her own backyard - an organisation that has grown into the global movement it is today and changes the lives of millions. Today 5 million athletes around the world benefit from being involved with Special Olympics.
In 1978, Special Olympics Ireland was formed and over the past 40 years we have grown significantly. Over the years many significant events have helped shape our future. Here we have highlighted some of them.
- Special Olympics Ireland founded
- European Games took place in Dublin with 2000 athletes from 17 countries participating.
- Telecom Eireann become official sponsor of Special Olympics Ireland
- Special Olympics Ireland Games held in Belfast
- Team Ireland, sponsored by Telecom Eireann participate at Special Olympics World Summer Games, South Bend, Indiana
- 1st Special Olympics Clubs formed
- Mary Davis appointed Regional Director of Special Olympics Ireland.
- First Irish Torch Run in association with An Garda Siochana - raised £97,000. This money provided grants for setting up first Special Olympics clubs
- Team Ireland attend Special Olympics World Summer Games, Minneapolis
- First Regional Offices are set up – Munster
- Connaught Team Ireland attend the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Connecticut
- Team Ireland participate for the first time at Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto.
- Team Ireland participate in Special Olympics World Summer Games, North Carolina
- 2003 World Games bid was successful
- Team Ireland participate in Special Olympics World Winter Games, Anchorage, Alaska
- Special Olympics World Summer Games, Dublin.
- Special Olympics Ireland Games, Belfast.
- Team Ireland participate in 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Shanghai, China
- 30th Anniversary of Special Olympics Ireland with celebratory events held throughout Ireland
- Team Ireland attend Special Olympics World Winter Games, Idaho
- 25th Anniversary of eir (formerly eircom) sponsorship. 2010 Special Olympics Ireland Games, Limerick
- Special Olympics European Summer Games, Warsaw
- 126 Team Ireland athletes travel to the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Athens, Greece
- Special Olympics celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2003 World Games
- The Special Olympics Ireland Games take place in Limerick . 1,500 athletes from all over Ireland took part in these Games which were supported by 3,000 volunteers.
- The Special Olympics Summer European Games take place in Antwerp, Belgium. 46 athletes represented Team Ireland at European level.
- The Special Olympics World Summer Games take place in Los Angeles . 88 athletes formed Team Ireland to take part in these Games.
- The Special Olympics World Winter Games take place in Austria. 26 Irish athletes took part in these Games.
- The Special Olympics Ireland Summer Games took place in Dublin. 1,600 athletes from all over Ireland took part in these Games. This was the first time in 16 years that the Ireland Games returned to Dublin.
- 91 athletes traveled to the World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi and competed in 12 sports, winning an incredible 86 medals. This was the first Games to be held in the MENA Region.