Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is a non-profit organisation that provides life-changing services to people who are visually impaired and to families who have children with autism. It was co-founded in 1976 by the late Mrs. Mary Dunlop and our current President Mr. Jim Dennehy. Mrs. Dunlop, who had a major interest in dogs and horses, had been fundraising in Ireland to send people with a vision impairment to the United Kingdom for training with a guide dog.
Jim Dennehy, who had lost his sight 8 years earlier, was the first person in Ireland to train with a long cane. He later trained with a guide dog. Mr Dennehy had travelled to the United Kingdom for his training as there was no organisation in Ireland providing this service.
Mr. Dennehy and Ms. Dunlop recognised the need for a service which was based in Ireland and so Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind was formed.
Organisation is founded in Dublin
Moved to our current site in Model Farm Road, Ballincollig, Cork and trained our first guide dog partnership
Official opening of our National Headquarters Building in Model Farm Road, Cork by the Taoiseach Dr. Garret FitzGerald, T.D.
Introduction of the Orientation & Mobility Programme (Long Cane Training)
Introduction of the Child Mobility Programme in conjunction with the Department of Education & Science
Construction of kennels complex is completed
Official opening of the new Training Centre encompassing accommodation block and staff offices by then Minister for Health Mr. Micheal Martin, T.D.
The Independent Living Skills training facility and programme is launched by the Minister for Health, Ms Mary Harney, T.D. at our National Headquarters & Training Centre
Introduction of our Assistance Dog Programme for families of Children with Autism - a first for Europe
The Organisation celebrates its 30th anniversary with a series of events across the country. A postage stamp marking the event is launched by An Post
Designated as the Year of the Volunteer and after a national volunteer listening exercise, we launch our Volunteer Handbook
Strategic Plan 2008 - 2010 is launched
Completion of a €5 million redevelopment of our National Headquarters and Training Centre providing increased capacity for training and improved facilities
Child Vision The National Education Centre for Blind Children (formerly St. Joseph's Centre for the Visually Impaired) opens a school, outreach facility and preschool for the visually impaired at our National Headquarters and Training Centre
We train the highest number of clients in our 35 year history
An Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D. officially opens the re-developed National Headquarters and Training Centre
We have to close our Assistance Dog waiting list due to a major over-demand
We plan to train the highest number of people in the year to date.
We Celebrate our 40th Anniversary!