Kelly flying high as she keeps feet on ground

Fitness instructor Kelly Casey has opened a gym with a difference in Galway’s Briarhill Business Park, where the focus is on aerial gymnastics, including trampolines, hoops, silks and pole dancing. She tells BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA how the family-friendly facility caters for all ages and abilities, how gymnastics help people get fit and how pole dancing is ideal for building overall body strength, especially in the core.

Aerial gymnastics involve skill, determination, loads of practice and patience, but they’re also great fun. And as the name implies, all the action takes place off the ground.

Kelly Casey has been a personal trainer, a fitness instructor and dance teacher but she is so passionate about aerial gymnastics in particular that she has just opened her third dedicated gym along the West coast, this one in Galway.

Flying High Fitness is based in Briarhill Industrial Park on the east side of the city. She needed a large, warehouse type space, she explains, so that specific equipment, including silks and the hoops, could be suspended from the ceiling.

The space also houses small individual trampolines as well as a long narrow one where the gymnasts warm up with multi cartwheels.

And it wouldn’t be a Kelly Casey space without the poles, as she’s a great advocate of pole-dancing  — not because of its exotic dancing connections, she explains, but because it’s a full body workout, strengthening the core and general muscles, as well as giving people confidence.

Dubliner Kelly has lived in Galway on and off since she was a day-pupil in Connemara’s Kylemore Abbey, and she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t involved in fitness related activities – she joined her first gym when she was sixteen.

“I wasn’t good at sport, I probably didn’t have the interest in any of it, or I just wasn’t interested in team sports,” she says.

“What I love about aerial gymnastics is that it can be done at your own pace. After school, I used to go to the gym. It kept me grounded and I had an activity which had nothing with school, which I hated,” she explains.

As soon as she finished her formal education she went travelling and discovered she could use her dancing and fire-breathing skills anywhere she went –  what’s more, she loved every minute of it.

On her return to Moycullen, Kelly opened a small studio where she ran bootcamps as well as offering pole dancing classes and personal training.

These classes were popular but when the pandemic hit, she had to close her rented studio. However, Kelly never lost the desire to provide alternative – and fun ways – of getting fit, so opening a new and bigger studio in Galway is a dream come true.

The space is painted in her company colours of green and purple and scattered with colourful and comfortable looking equipment.

As opposed to the heavy, daunting looking equipment found in a regular gym, this looks like a play space for adults – and she caters for children too.

Pictured: Kelly Casey at her Briarhill gym where the focus is on aerial gymnastics. PHOTO: IAIN MCDONALD.

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