About Us

The Octopus Swimming Club was created in October 1981, for people with physical disabilities. We have a membership of fifty people, ranging in age from 5 years to 70 years. As the method of swimming we use requires one helper to one swimmer in the early stages, almost half of our members are instructor/helpers.

Our founder Mary Arrigan learnt the Halliwick Method of swimming in England, while training to become a nurse. On returning to Ireland she set about forming a club in her hometown of Galway.

She found that most people with learning problems had access to some form of organised swimming but those with physical disabilities had none, so these became the target group.

From the start the Brothers of Charity have supplied the accessible swimming pool and the Irish Wheelchair Association has helped out with transport.

Octopus Swimming Club celebrates 35 years

Octopus Swimming Club celebrates 35 years supporting people with disabilities

A local Galway swimming club who support people with disabilities are celebrating 35 years in the water.

The Octopus Swimming Club help people with disabilities such as amputees, head injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, spina-bifida, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and visual impairment, to become “water free” or independent in the water.


The Halliwick technique, which guides the ethos of the club, means no buoyancy aids are used to help disabled swimmers. Keep Reading!