Joe McNamara is a Special Olympics athlete from Craughwell, County Galway.
This is Joe’s story.
There are five in my family, my parents and my two sisters. I am the eldest child. I grew up on a horse farm and I really like the animals because they are my favourite thing to look after.
I am a Special Olympics athlete in swimming. I go to the club every week and meet up with all the other athletes. I work in the Meadow Court Hotel as a barman every weekend.
I have a learning difficulty and ADHD. I find it hard to concentrate on learning new things. I think people with disabilities are treated differently in Ireland. It’s hard to find work, and to get transport to places if they can’t drive a car.
The challenges that I faced in my life were at school. I found learning new things difficult. I was given learning support and the teacher was great at teaching me at a slower pace.
I found it difficult to take part in sport at school as sometimes the other children would make fun of me and leave me out of their games. I would continue to play and eventually they would include me.
My advice to someone would be to try your best in any sports that you do. Never give up and always be nice to everyone.
I won gold medals in the Special Olympics Ireland Games.
I always encourage my friends to do their best and to be proud of their achievements.
To find out more about the Special Olympics, visit https://www.specialolympics.ie