Blackheath Drive, Clontarf, Dublin 3
The Irish Wheelchair Association gym boasts 100% accessibility (obviously) but it is also open to non-IWA members. With equipment, classes and training, it is open to everyone which is a great message. There is no line drawn between able-bodied people or people with disabilities. A lot of the equipment is adjustable so that anyone can give it a go.
What has it got?
Changing rooms: The changing rooms are spacious and allow for a large number of wheelchair users. There are wheelchair bathrooms and showers galore. There is also a separate changing room for high dependency members who need that extra bit of room for an assistant.
Equipment: A lot of the weight machines have moveable chairs so you can wheel your chair right into them.
Doors: The doors are all wide and once open, there is a delay with them closing so that they don’t hit off your chair and give you enough time to get through.
Ground: The floor has a lovely non-slip surface.
Stairs: There is one flight of stairs up to the gym but there is also a lift.
Bathrooms: Almost all of the bathrooms are wheelchair accessible with all of the proper bells and whistles.
Spaciousness: Plenty. And then some.
Helpfulness of Staff: The staff are amazing here. They are aware of people’s varying needs so if you’re trying out the equipment for the first time, they will let you know what’s good for you. Anything you need to know, they will have an answer for.
Parking: They have their own car park right outside with a large number of wheelchair parking spots
Why did it lose points? It didn’t lose any because this place is the exemplary in its accessibility. The memberships fees vary for IWA members, students and senior citizens which is also great for the pocket. If, as a wheelchair user, you have never used a gym before, this is an amazing introduction. With the specialised staff, you will have your own personal workout sorted in no time.
IWA Sport run a number of disability awareness and training courses for schools and individuals which is a huge eye-opener to the world of wheelchair sport and the boundaries it pushes.