Camp Abilities

A group photo of all camp volunteers and participants taken in a sports hall from above

Camp Abilities 2024 brought together 39 vision impaired campers alongside a team of 26 dedicated volunteers at the Kilfinane Outdoor Education and Training Centre in Limerick.

Throughout the week, campers were immersed in an array of activities designed to promote the camp values of Being Active, Being Social and Being Independent. From kayaking adventures at Lough Gur to rock climbing and orienteering, each day offered opportunities for campers to push their boundaries and discover their potential.

Special guest speaker Josephine Healion, Irish vision-impaired para-cyclist, shared her inspirational journey with campers, with her message of resilience and determination, inspiring them to pursue their own dreams.

Vision Sports Ireland extends its heartfelt gratitude to all volunteers, sponsors, and supporters who made this unforgettable week possible.

Read the day by day rundown below to learn all about what camp is really about.

Volunteer sitting down watching participants with partner logos on the back of their jumper


The week begins with all important training as staff and volunteers made the, now annual, trip to Kilfinane Outdoor Education and Training Centre in Limerick to start the set-up for a big week ahead. A team of 26 volunteers were on hand, having committed themselves for a week of hard work and positive energy. There were new and returning volunteers all eager to get settled and looking forward to the 39 campers arriving the next day.

2 boys pose for a photo in front of a rock climbing wall


A big day of nervousness and excitement, tears (mostly from the parents) and laughter as the campers arrived, began to unpack their bags and get settled into their accommodation for the week. We had new and returning campers, with introductions being made and campers scoping out their dorm rooms for the week ahead. New friendships were already beginning to blossom before lunch event began! After lunch it was straight into the fun and activities with a tour of centre and some team building games to get the groups bonding while working up an appetite for dinner. After dinner there was more fun to be had with a quiz before bedtime was calling after a busy day. Plenty of chatter could be heard across the corridors as the campers settled down for their first night at camp. A few staying chatting well after the 9pm lights out!

3 boys wearing lifejacket and helmets standing for a photo before kayaking


After a busy night in the dorms, the 8am wake up call was not needed for many campers as everyone was very excited for what the first full day of camp would bring! Breakfast was the first port of call with everyone well fed by the superb kitchen staff. Then the campers split off into their respective groups with kayaking the main event of the day. A bus trip out to Lough Gur was on the cards and once they arrived it was a quick change into wetsuits with all eager to get onto the water.

While those back at the centre waited for their turn on the water after lunch they were put to work participating in an exercise class and camp craft – pitching tents, building huts and lighting fires! With all that activity a pause for dinner was welcomed before it was back into more fun with a Céilí held in the sports hall. Plenty of tired heads could be spotted around the hall before the céilí finished up and the campers headed back to the rooms for lights out at 9pm.


Young girl with a tennis ball on her racket.


Another busy day ahead and once breakfast is over the campers are straight into the fun and activities. Rock climbing and orienteering are the draw of the morning with many rock climbing records being broken while the other group used our new app ‘Soundscape Community’ to hear audible clues on an orienteering route around the centre.

After lunch everyone packed up and got ready for a bus trip out to Doneraile Park. The order for the afternoon being a Park Run for some of the group while others got to practice and hone their cycling skills. We had tandem bikes in use by some excellent instructors to ensure everyone had the opportunity to take part. Spirits were high and not even rain showers (or hailstones) could dampen the afternoon.

Then the group all headed back to Kilfinane for dinner and down time before it was time to get back to the activities once more. Golf Ireland attended with their inflatable driving range which was a big hit giving everyone the chance to give golf a try while a spa session and baking were the other activity options on the night. Halfway through the week and there are plenty of giggles and chatting while the lights are turned out once more. 

Marshmallows on sticks being held over a camp fire


Our last full day on Camp and our first one off site as after breakfast everyone loads into buses for a trip to University of Limerick (UL) for the annual sports day. This year at UL campers got the opportunity to take part in all elements of athletics, running, jumping and throwing. This was followed by our amazing guest speaker and role model Josephine Healion (Irish vision impaired para-cyclist) who spoke to the campers about her experience and journey through life and sport, this was met with fascinating and heart-warming questions from the children who really appreciated her honesty and motivation.

After a well-deserved lunch break campers broke into their groups to compete in Tennis, football and rock climbing where participants ascended Irelands tallest climbing wall with courage and bravery. On our bus journey back to our base in Kilfinane, songs and laughter broke out across the bus followed by very tired eyes and some short naps. Our long awaited campfire started at dusk with scary stories shared to one another, as the darkness grew stories turned to singing and the atmosphere changed from fun to reflection of all the great memories made over the previous four days. Camp songs and smores were enjoyed until the tiredness from camp set in and everybody made their way back to dorms to rest before our final day and closing ceremony.

A female jumping on a blue track into a long jump sandpit


And just like that it is Friday, where parents travelled to Kilfinane from all four corners of Ireland to be reunited with their young campers. With that comes joy of meeting family again, however there is also sadness as campers must say goodbye to many new friends and roommates that helped form memories that will last a lifetime.    

Before the farewell waves came the closing ceremony. This was where parents and guests were treated to a flavor of the fun and activities which had taken place over the previous five days. Through personal accounts and video, attendees were brought on a whistle stop journey of the camp highlights which were received with applause, laughter and tears of joy. 

The end of another Camp Abilities, but the beginning of so much more for many of our campers…new friends, new stories, new sports and most of all, a new found confidence and place to belong for each of our campers. A week to remember for all involved.


Camp Abilities, Vision Ireland, Whitworth Road, Dublin 9.

On small screens this website needs to be viewed in portrait screen orietation.