The Community Games is an Irish independent voluntary organisation and National Governing Body providing opportunities for children and young people to grow and develop in a positive and healthy way while experiencing a wide range of sporting and cultural activities. The National Festivals are held over 2 weekends every year, one in May and one in August where on each weekend 3,000 children compete for their area, town, county and province. The Community Games is sponsored by the Health Service Executive
"Community Games can be quite proud of its immense achievements in a wide range of interests and, indeed, positive community developments. Community Games is a truly developing organisation spreading good-will and healthy involvement for the benefit of all." Joseph Connolly, Founder and Honorary Life Patron (1922 - 2008).
The Community Games were set up in 1967 - initially only in Dublin as a way to deal with the problems of the lack of leisure-time activities for young people. In the first games, 3,000 took part at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Santry; the following year it was 5,000 - today, over 500,000 children compete for the chance to make the national finals. For most of the games history, the National Finals were held in Mosney, County Meath. However, as the former campsite became unavailable due to being turned into a residential area for asylum seekers, from 2009 onwards the Games are held at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Athlone, County Westmeath.
The following are some of the sports and games that are played at Community Games:
- Gaelic football
- Pitch and putt
- Indoor soccer
- Table tennis
- Culture Corner
- Model making
- Variety show
- Disco Dancing
- Traditional Set Dancing
- Comedy Sketch/Drama
Young people from all over Ireland aim to qualify for the Community Games National Festivals each year. These take place over two weekends and from 2014 they will both be happening in August.
In the individual events, one competitor from each of the 32 counties of Ireland qualifies for the National Finals. In the team events, one team from each of the 4 provinces of Ireland qualifies for the National Finals. The exceptions to these rules are:
- In judo, one individual from each province qualifies for the national finals.
- In pitch and putt, choir, "culture corner", project choir and variety, three teams from each province qualify for the national finals.
- In the under-14 quiz, two teams from each county qualify for the national finals.
Where four teams qualify, semi-finals, a third-place play-off and final are played, except in draughts and chess where medal placings are decided on a league basis.
"We're Singing as One" is the theme song of the Community Games written, sung, arranged and produced by Colm O'Loughlin, a former competitor at the Games.
Many famous Irish people have competed in the games over the years and have very fond memories of the HSE Community Games.
I always enjoyed the Community Games in Cobh with my school friends and then the trip to Cork for the county finals. The ultimate though was heading off on the train to Mosney for the all-Ireland finals, I remember and still have my little accreditation pass, just like what you get in the Olympics for access to all you need and the big book with all the results from years gone by. That's where I set my early targets and goals for future years, by looking up athletes I knew and the times they ran at the Community Games finals each year before me.. Sonia O'Sullivan, May 2013
- Sonia O'Sullivan
- Tommy Bowe
- Seán O'Brien
- Brendan Boyce
- Sarah Lavin
- Colin Farrell
- Niall Breslin
- Paul O'Connell
- Ronan O'Gara
Media related to Community Games at Wikimedia Commons