Dare to Believe Expands to Secondary Schools

PTSB is programme sponsor and 15 new athlete ambassadors added

Highlighting a significant expansion to the Olympic Federation of Ireland Olympic schools programme, Dare to Believe, Permanent TSB has today been revealed as the programme sponsor. Dare to Believe was originally launched in 2019, bringing the Olympic Games, and the Olympic values to primary schools around Ireland. Today’s announcement also sees the launch of the Dare to Believe Secondary School curriculum as well as the addition of 15 Tokyo 2020 athletes to the programme, bringing the total of Olympic and Paralympic ambassadors to 31.

Over the past twelve months over 77,000 primary school children have engaged with the programme which has adapted to the globally changing environment. Since 2020 Dare to Believe has included hugely popular virtual challenges such as the Road to Tokyo, as well as a successful collaboration with RTÉ’s Home School Hub. Dare to Believe is an interactive ‘Five Ring’ curriculum teaching students about Olympics values such as respect, friendship and striving for excellence, and includes a classroom visit from a Team Ireland ambassador.

The secondary school curriculum is based on the same principles and has been developed in conjunction with teachers and explores important topics through the lens of sport. Aimed primarily at Transition Year students, topics that are addressed range from the positive impact of sport on society as a whole and well-being, to important topics such as respect, equality and hate speech, through the ‘Don’t Scroll By’ module. The curriculum encourages dialogue around key subjects such as mental health and racism.

The expansion of the programme includes 15 exciting new ambassadors who will deliver their story to classrooms, imparting insights on their sporting journey and sharing tips on how to deal with challenges, demonstrating examples of their resilience. The ambassadors range from Olympic hopefuls to Olympic and Paralympic medallists, including Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington, Olympic bronze medallists Aifric Keogh and Eimear Lambe and Paralympic silver medallist Nicole Turner.


Harrington has been a Dare to Believe ambassador since the launch of the programme in 2019 and is passionate about inspiring communities and schoolchildren around the country. The Olympic gold medallist is also a Permanent TSB ambassador and speaking at the announcement said,

“I want to give kids what I have had in my sporting career, and I want to let them know that believing is achieving. That anything is possible once they believe.

Kellie Harrington, Dare to Believe Ambassador

Through the Dare to Believe programme, as ambassadors, we can show them the power of believing in their dreams, and that if they dare to believe they can achieve something positive in their lives, be it an actor, a singer or a sports star. I’m excited to see the programme expand to transition year students, and think that this can make a real difference for someone out there.”  

Dare to Believe was founded by Beijing 2008 Olympian Roisin McGettigan,

“We are delighted to be expanding our Dare to Believe programme to secondary schools. We all know that there is a high level of teenagers dropping out of sport and this programme aims to address this and promote the wider values of sport; physically, socially and mentally. Through Dare to Believe sport is promoted as self-development tool for character building, leadership, connection to community and wellbeing.  We worked with TY teachers and students at every stage of the TY programme’s evolution to ensure that the 6-unit curriculum is fit for purpose as an interdisciplinary life skills and wellbeing programme. Our Olympic & Paralympic ambassador role models can’t wait to get into schools to work with this cohort and I’m sure they will have an incredible impact on the students they engage with.”

Speaking at the launch, Eamonn Crowley, Permanent TSB Chief Executive Officer, said: 

“The Dare to Believe schools programme has had a significant impact on communities across the country over the last 12 months, reaching more than 77,000 primary school children. We are proud to be able to support its expansion into secondary schools, to help to further grow that impact.

“Our community ethos is a key differentiator for Permanent TSB and like us, Dare to Believe is grounded in communities across the country.

“This is a natural sponsorship for the Bank as it goes hand-in-hand with the recent announcement of our landmark partnership with the Irish Olympic and Paralympic teams for Paris 2024.

“Everyone in Permanent TSB is excited about Team Ireland. We want to share that excitement with the many thousands of schoolgoers that will benefit from not only the programme, but from the opportunity to meet Ireland’s Olympians and Paralympians, who are an excellent example of just what can happen when you dare to believe.”

Speaking today, Peter Sherrard, OFI CEO said,

“We are delighted to have Permanent TSB’s support to grow and develop our Dare to Believe schools programme. Since it started in 2019, it has gone from strength to strength. The athletes have shown how powerful and inspirational their stories can be to children all over the country.

“Thanks to Permanent TSB, we have an exciting new secondary school curriculum that will see our athlete ambassadors engaging students through a range of stimulating and relevant topics that transcend sport – helping teenagers so much at a critical time in their development journeys.”

Registration for the Dare to Believe programme is free of charge and all details can be found on www.daretobelieve.ie for both primary and secondary curriculums.

#First NameLast NameSportCounty
4OrlaComerfordAthletics (PI)Dublin
11MartinGordonCycling Track (PI)Dublin
20ThomasMaloney WestgårdCross-Country SkiingNorway
22BrendanNewbyFreestyle SkiUtah, USA
23ShaneO DonoghueHockeyDublin
26GretaStreimikyteAthletics – ParalympianMeath
27RichaelTimothyCycling Track (PI)Galway
28NicoleTurnerSwimming – ParalympianLaois
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