Deaf Sports Ireland, known as the Irish Deaf Sports Association until 2012, was set up in 1968 and is one of the longest running organisations in the Irish Deaf community still in existence today. Learn more about our Committee and Structure and read on to discover our beautiful history.

The Foundation

Following participation at the British Athletic Championship in Coventry, England in 1968, a group of young Deaf people met together to discuss the possibility of establishing a national Deaf sports organisation in Ireland. They were Larry Coogan, Christy Foran, Kevin Lynch, Andrew O’Grady and Sean Kelly, known as the Founding Members with James Woulfe joining later on.

On 2 September 1968, a provisional committee was formed and they submitted an application to join as a member of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) (formerly CISS). They adopted the name Irish Deaf Sports Association (IDSA), which was changed to Deaf Sports Ireland (DSI) from 1 January 2012. They went on and took part in the CISS Congress at Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1969 with Larry Coogan and Christy Foran being the first Irish Deaf delegates there.

Gaining Recognition

DSI’s stride continued with the organisation of several sporting events and taking part in international matches in Athletics, Swimming, Football and Table-Tennis. It was not long before Ireland took part in the CISS World Games for the Deaf at Malmo Sweden in 1973. Since then, DSI became the foremost Deaf sporting body in Ireland and the first national organisation that was governed by Deaf people.

It laid down the foundation for the future of Deaf empowerment that would come in decades later. Through DSI, Ireland organised, supported and took part in many local, regional, national and international Deaf sports championships and matches. Internationally, DSI brought home many medals by winning the European & World Championships & Deaflympics in Bowling, Football, Golf, Swimming, Table-Tennis and Water Polo with total of 59 Gold, 57 Silver and 41 Bronze.

Today DSI is the national governing body in Ireland and is affiliated to International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), the world body organisation responsible for all aspects of sport for Deaf people, European Deaf Sports Organisation (EDSO), and the Irish Sports Council (ISC), the hearing Irish sporting State body.

DSI’s Constitution

Download a copy of DSI’s Constitution.