Kellie Harrington and Irish Sporting Heroes


This year the Dublin Book Festival is so excited to welcome Olympic gold-medalist, Kellie Harrington, in conversation with Second Captains to discuss her autobiography Kellie, written with the help of Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle. Harrington’s new book is the gripping story of how boxing saved her life and helped her soar all the way to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics and has been shortlisted for Eason Sports Book of the Year. Harrington is an inspiration to female athletes all over Ireland, and she is one of many. 

Katie Taylor, another professional boxer from Bray, Co. Wicklow, had her latest victory in May at Madison Square Garden in New York to defend her Lightweight crown against Amanda Serrano. Taylor’s impressive record of 21 wins encourages us all to never give up and keep fighting for ourselves and our dreams.

Irish footballer Amber Barrett and the entire Ireland International Football Squad made history last week when they beat out Scotland 0-1 for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup UEFA qualifiers. This marks the first time the Republic of Ireland has qualified for the Women’s World Cup and we can’t wait to watch what happens next for them!

Sene Naoupu’s retirement from international rugby was well-deserved after having a stellar decade-long career for Ireland. Naoupu made her debut as a member of the 2015 Women’s Six Nations Championship and she represented Ireland at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017. The athlete was also awarded Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Women’s Player of the Year in 2016 and has been a member of the World Rugby’s Women’s Advisory Council since 2020. 

In 2021, the first female jockey to win the Grand National was Ireland’s Rachael Blackmore from Co. Tipperary. Blackmore continued to impress as she became the first woman to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2022 with her thoroughbred partner, A Plus Tard. Rachael’s recent accomplishments mark a new beginning for female jockeys everywhere.

Carla Rowe, Dublin’s GAA co-captain alongside Niamh Collins, is no quitter. This past year, the team earned the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship after their victory over Cork, but Dublin was eliminated by Donegal in the quarter-finals. But this won’t keep Rowe down, as she is determined to work harder and come back stronger than ever next season.

There are almost too many female athletes here in Ireland: Sonia O’Sullivan, Sanita Puspure, Rhasidat Adeleke, Katie McCabe, Ciara Mageean, Annalise Murphy, etc, but all of these women have careers that continue to excite and motivate others to work hard, never give up, and strive to be the best they can be.

Catch Kellie on Thursday 27th October at The WMQ Townhall, 1WML, Windmill Quarter, Dublin 2. Tickets available HERE