Leisure and Health
clubs in the full as-seen-on-TV sense have become quite common in the past 5 years.
A look at the Dublin yellow pages turnes up page after page of ads for places
with all the facilities you'd expect. I'd say there are over 100 clubs listed
in the Dublin phone book. In the Galway yellow pages there are 4 listed for
Galway city. Cork has some too, but outside those cities you mostly have to
look for leisure centres to provide such facilities.
There are plenty of health clubs that just
offer aerobics and aromatherapy and sunbeds and the like. The bigger ones
offer these and more sports oriented facilities like squash courts, indoor
circuits and gyms. Which one should you use? Why, the one you'll use, of course.
That tends to mean some place near work or home. So, once you're settled in,
talk to your neighbours and look in the yellow pages under health clubs to
find one near you. For now, you just need to know they exist and below is
a rough idea of cost.
I called one Dublin place that had a big ad
in the yellow pages and that features a gym, aerobics, 3 squash courts, circuit
training, CardioVascular Room (I assume this means fitness equipment), fitness assessment, snack bar, sunbeds,
saunas, steam room, and beauty room (the sunbeds and aromatherapy massages).
It seems about average for a bigger one by the ads.
One year membership - €650
Half year membership - €400
3 month membership - €300
and Leisure Centres
Most larger towns and all the cities have heated
public swimming pools. While these cater quite nicely to the kids in the midday,
they are wonderfully inexpensive and mostly underused places early in the
morning (9am or so). All offer classes, and many feature additional attractions
like saunas. Costs average about €5 to €10 for adults.
Hundreds of hotels throughout Ireland are now
equipped with with leisure centres. Apparently leisure means great sports
facilities. Large, heated swimming pools are now common, as are saunas, jacuzzis,
steam rooms, fully equipped gyms, massage facilities, aerobics rooms, and
sometimes even bowling alleys.
Prices vary but expect to pay at least €600
per annum for an adult membership, and €400 for six months. Some Dublin
leisure centres are higher, particularly in the 5 star hotels. Hotel guests
will mingle, but often children are banished to children's pools or forbidden
the use of the main pool after 7:30pm.
Various Splash Worlds and the like have sprung
up near near many of the resort towns (Tramore in the southeast, Trabolgan
near Cork, Tralee in Kerry, Bundoran in Donegal, etc.) These are family places
for rainy or bright summer days - many are closed in the winter.
Us country folk take a walk along the local
rivers, climb hills or milk 50 cows every morning just for the exercise. Local
streams and lakes are still sometimes used by local children, but this generation increasingly seems to have locked itself indoors. Most people are
within a 20 minute drive of a local hotel with a leisure centre or a municipal
Most towns have walking clubs, running clubs
and bicycle clubs. It's easy to get involved - stop in at a local sports facility
or sporting goods shop and you'll walk out with the names and phone numbers
of a list of contacts. And local papers contain announcements from groups about their upcoming activities.