Secrets of positive ageing coming to county near you through GAA/TILDA partnership

February 20, 2019

Croke Park will host the Allianz Football League Division 1, 2 and 4 finals this weekend. ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry.

In an era where we are all expected to live longer, the GAA, Trinity College Dublin and Irish Life have come together to highlight the secrets to successful ageing through a series of regional seminars.

For example, did you know that people living by the sea are less likely to be depressed? That optimists live longer? That friendship and good social life is as important as low cholesterol for heart disease? That quality of life continues to get better after 50 for almost another 30 years? These nuggets of knowledge, and much more, will be explored by Professor Rose Anne Kenny, a world expert in healthy ageing, as part of this series of public talks entitled ‘How to Age Well: Evidence from TILDA’.

Irish Life is one of the founding supporters of TILDA which is the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, led by Trinity College Dublin. Over 8,500 people aged 50 and older were randomly selected and continue to be repeatedly interviewed and examined regarding many aspects of their lives including happiness, physical and mental health, financial circumstances, quality of life, and perceptions of ageing. 

Free talks open to the general public, organised by the GAA’s County Health & Wellbeing Committees, will take place in Longford (March 11), Limerick (March 20), Donegal (March 22), and Mayo and Cork later in 2019 (dates to be confirmed). The content will highlight themes including the importance of exercise, diet, social connectedness, purpose, and location. 

GAA President John Horan said: “The GAA is proud to represent every age demographic in Ireland. These talks are not just for GAA members, they are for anyone in the community that is interested in ageing well. Irish Life is a long-standing CSR partner of the GAA Healthy Club Project and we’re delighted to broaden that relationship through this collaboration with TILDA.”  

Prof. Rose Anne Kenny said: “TILDA is one of the most important research studies in Ireland which helps to better understand why bodies and brains age and how we can best ensure long and prosperous lives, for today's adults and for future generations. This unique partnership with the GAA will ensure that new research from TILDA and other international studies is quickly communicated to all age groups. As a research institution we are very excited about taking this new knowledge out to the Irish people.”

Speaking about the ‘How to Age Well’ initiative said, David Harney, CEO Irish Life, said: “Our commitment at Irish Life is to make every community in Ireland healthier, and that commitment extends across all life-stages. With life expectancy in Ireland at 81 years, we want to ensure that people fully enjoy the years approaching and beyond retirement.” 

“We have been a long-term supporter of TILDA and their vision of making Ireland the best place in the world to grow old. I believe that the GAA’s support of the ‘How to Age Well’ seminar series will bring valuable healthcare information to the wider community and help people of all ages, but particularly those over 50, to embrace change in their physical, emotional and social lives.”

GAA ambassadors from participating counties are supporting the seminar series. They visited TILDA’s research hub in Trinity College to experience some of the tests that participants in the research undergo, including cognitive tests, gait analysis, grip strength, bone density, and aural and visual testing. 

GAA legend Míchéal Ó Muircheartaigh attended the partnership launch and encouraged everyone to attend their local seminar.

He said: “It didn’t surprise me to discover the contribution of social and community connections to positive ageing. The GAA provided me and many of my generation with a social network that allowed us to stay connected and be part of something bigger than ourselves. It still does. I’m sure the seminars will offer everyone who attends new information that will help them age well.” 

County seminar schedule:

•          Longford: Monday 11th March 7-9pm, Longford Arms Hotel

•          Limerick: Wednesday 20th March 7-9pm, Woodlands House Hotel Adare

•          Donegal: Friday 22nd March 2-4pm, Letterkenny Institute of Technology

•          Cork (Date TBC)

•          Mayo (Date TBC)

Additional details of the seminars are available on and further information will also be made available through local media in the participating counties in coming weeks.

To register for the seminars please go to:




For assistance in registering, people can ring TILDA on 01-8964120 and a member of the team will assist.

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