September 06, 2021

Inclusive Pilates and Dip sessions are set to become a regular Swim Ireland initiative after a successful pilot in August led to a second edition opening for booking in September.

Organisers Sarah Kerrigan and Niamh Cleary welcomed 25 participants to Windsurfer's Pier in Dun Laoghaire on August 21.

Despite a wet forecast and grey day, everyone arrived willing and eager to be active and enjoy the ocean.

"No one let the damp and grey weather affect their spirits and willingness to exercise," said Sarah. "It was a very wholesome event. Community, friendship, movement and fun are the driving forces behind what we do.

"It meant so much to have people of all ages and all abilities join in for the session. Big appreciation to all who showed up on the day and a special shout out to our lifeguard Bríd, who kept a watchful eye over us while we swam."

Now Sarah and Niamh are heading to Portmarnock for their second event on Saturday, September 11, proudly supported by Fingal County Council.

Inclusive Pilates & Dip - Session 2

Velvet Strand, Portmarnock - 11:00-12:00 - Saturday, September 11

This sessions costs just €5 for 30 minutes of guided pilates and a supported 15-minute social dip

What is Inclusive Pilates & Dip?

Inclusive Pilates & Dip is a pilates session with a fully-qualified pilates instructor, followed by a short dip in open water under the watchful eye of a qualified lifeguard.

Both activities are suitable for all people, no matter their ability. If you require any assistance to take part, or any modifications during the session, you can drop us an email (, or let your instructors know on the day.

They have been highly-trained in inclusive exercise and will accommodate anyone who wishes to take part. Just do gives us a heads up if you need special equipment.

How did Inclusive Pilates & Dip start?

"Facilitating inclusive exercise classes is something that Niamh and I have been talking and dreaming about doing for months.

"We have been friends for years and pre-pandemic we used to exercise regularly together, especially during college. One thing that we really noticed from our experiences was how few inclusive and accessible exercise options were available to us - despite many being advertised to be.

"We got disheartened about the lack of resources out there, me maybe more so, particularly throughout lockdown when I was trying to source inclusive exercise classes on Youtube and could find very little."

Sarah and Niamh decided they were going to try to run their own inclusive exercise classes. At the time Niamh was studying for her BASI Pilates Mat Programme and Sarah was studying for a Certificate in Strength & Conditioning for Special Populations, both of which they have now successfully completed.

To kick off their venture they filmed some virtual pilates classes, which showed the team at Swim Ireland how a live class would work and the Participation team built this into existing plans for Yoga & Dip.

A Pilates & Dip session genuinely accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability, was borne!

If you'd like to learn more about Sarah or Niamh, or you'd just like to talk about inclusive options with Sarah, email

Learn more about Sarah Kerrigan

Learn more about Sarah Kerrigan

Sarah Kerrigan lives for her time in the sea with friends and family, drinking in nature, and enjoying a low impact exercise where her (dis)ability isn’t a factor.

Read Sarah's Story