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Meet Our Team
Firstart Fitness Athlone, Ireland


A graduate of the University of Minnesota, our founder Mary Mannion, began her career working for a motivation and training provider in the US for Fortune 500/200 companies. Her role in Corporate Training, specialised in developing programmes and materials for employee training, new product launches and sales distribution channels.

In 1996, Mary moved from Minnesota to Ireland to raise her young family.  She started her first Taekwondo club located outside Athlone in a small community hall. Twenty years later, Athlone Taekwondo Academy is still going strong in a beautiful state-of-the-art full time training facility.  

Firstart was formed in 1999, providing Physical Education to national schools across the Midlands.  This unique programme proved to be effective in developing skills, strength, coordination and confidence in children of all abilities and ages.  The "building block" method used has helped develop the skills necessary to participate in a wide variety of activities and step at a time.  The past 19 years, over a thousand students have benefitted from Firstart method of teaching. 

With encouragement from primary school and secondary school principals, medical doctors and physical education specialists, Mary and the expert Firstart team have now made our programme available for use in schools and intervention groups. Teacher training programmes, school lesson plans and homework books build a loop of communication between home, student and teacher.  All of whom play an integral part in the success of the Firstart Physical Education and Well-Being Programme.  

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