Getting Started 2012

July 3rd 2012

I cycled into work and back again today – that’s a 30k round trip in the rain, so I think I deserve a halo, or a medal at least!

But look – I’ve got a problem; the carrier’s bust on my lovely new lean, mean, fighting machine… and I don’t think it’s just a nut I need. I tried doing things with screws and screwdrivers, but can’t seem to find the right hole. Have a suspicion that the existing screw has shorn off. Hmmmm. Gonna have to find a bike-doctor, and I really don’t have time… I hope I’ll be able to cycle in with this tomorrow… and is that rust on the chain? couldn’t be, they don’t rust, do they?

David Dunne is my personal trainer at Ben Dunne Gym – no relation! He first came to my aid when I was training for Everest and he’s been helping me ever since. I probably know how to put together a decent weights programme on my own by now, but it’s great to have access to Dave’s knowledge, and I think walking in to an ‘unpredictable’ workout planned by someone else, helps keep my muscles and mind active. But the downside is that there’s no gain without pain – and this evening, he inflicted it in bagloads… whew. One thing is certain; I’ll sleep well tonight!

July 2nd 2012

Oh my, what a shot – with the Custom House in the background, I shall treasure this forever. When I’m old and if I can’t do this anymore, I shall look at this picture and say in a shaky voice “I remember kayaking up the Liffey under O’Connell Bridge” …. and people will have to believe me!


Training for Concern’s Uganda Challenge with ATI

What an amazing day – unexpectedly so. It was horribly wet when I started out on the bike at 6am this morning, to cycle 15k into work, and it was very tempting to take the car and spend an extra 15mins in bed for good measure. But I dragged out the wheels and the rain gear and got going, because there’s no time to lose. I need to cycle a 210k mountain bike section of the Concern Uganda challenge in November. After finishing work at 3pm, I biked back down to the Liffey and joined Adventure Training Ireland, who are helping me with my Kayak training. To be honest, it was hammering rain and I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but I sucked it up, hopped down onto the ‘sit-on’ kayak and headed up the Liffey towards O’Connell Bridge. The sun suddenly came out and I had an absolutely wonderful hour of pure magic. It’s such an unusual treat to see the city from this angle. If you fancy checking it out – check out ATI – they’re based down by the Jeanie Johnston at the IFSC, and you don’t need to know how to kayak, to get out on the water with them. They’re great.

With long distance swimmer, Fergal Somerville

I cycled back home to Blanch – and grabbed the car and a wet suit, flying over to Malahide to swim with long-distance swimmer Fergal Somerville – who swam the English Channel last year, and is going to be swimming the elusive North Channel on July 10th. Again, I didn’t really fancy this – and again, the rain which had returned, cleared up abruptly, the sun shone through, and I found I loved it…… AFTERWARDS!! lol. Bit of a pattern emerging here.

June 25th 2012 There may have been a weak glimmer of sun around this evening, but I really, really didn’t want to go swimming in the icy Irish Sea…but after I finally did it, I was really, really glad that I had. Today I swam from Low rock to Middle Rock and back again, avoided a jellyfish, and felt really happy to be back on dry land. 🙂I was really trying to persuade myself that swimming in the sea this evening would be pleasurable/warm/fun/anything less than awful… It took everything I had to make me drive to Malahide and a good bit more to jump in. But afterwards I was glad.

2011 – Training for the Alps & Chernobyl Children International

In 2011 I found myself heading to the Alps and to the Irish Sea, in seperate challenges to raise money for Chernobyl Children International, 25 years on from the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

A trip to Mont Blanc in the French Alps ended up in Italy after myself and my team got knocked off course by good weather! The picture below is at the Summit of Grand Paradiso… Click on the rocks – to find out more…

Click on the picture below to find out about Donnchadh’s Dare – when a Coast Guard buddy challenged me to sail across the Irish Sea from Dublin to Holyhead to raise cash for Chernobyl kids – in a very small boat!

2010 – Training for Everest/Hope Expedition

My big adventure really started here. After being ordered to lose weight at 23 stone, I lost enough to successfully have vital surgery to remove my diseased Gall Bladder. Recovering afterwards I felt extraordinarily blessed. I had lost 4 stone and decided to put my newly healthy body on the line to give thanks.

I ended up travelling to Base Camp Mount Everest, to raise funds for street kids in Calcutta. It was an extraordinary challenge, as I couldn’t walk at all without a stick when I started and I had never set foot on a hill! I lost another 6 stone through training for Base Camp and I ended going a bit higher than we all expected… Read my Everest Expedition blog by clicking on the picture below.

Abseiling from Island Peak 20,305ft

I began training for Everest on my beautiful Wicklow Hills and there were tears when I first made it up Spink in Glendalough.


Later I headed for Kerry, to climb Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain. It made a really big impression – as this video shows.




PPI Award Winning Newsroom: 98FM

As Head of News at 98FM Radio in Dublin, I often wrote stories about obesity and national health, but never related them to myself until a crisis meeting with a surgeon brought me out of denial and face-to-face with reality. I needed a vital surgery, but couldn’t undergo the operation because I was far too overweight. I was 23 stone and likely to die on the operating theatre. I realised it was time to change, and the only person with the solution was me. After a decade of dieting, I finally began to lose weight.

  • Communicorp
  • Danone
  • Irish Farmers’ Journal
  • Dublin Airport Authority
  • WeightWatchers, Ireland
  • Limerick City & County Enterprise Board
  • ‘Foot In The Door’ Media Trainer for Independent Commercial Radio, Ireland
  • Clare County Enterprise Board
  • Carlow County Enterprise Board
  • Great Outdoors
  • Adrian Hendroff ‘From High Places’
  • Chernobyl Children International
  • Concern Ireland
  • The Hope Foundation
  • LauraLynn Childrens’ Hospice
  • Travel Department
  • Helly Hansen Killarney Adventure Race
  • 98FM Dublin
  • Newstalk
  • TodayFM Radio
  • Learning Waves Skillnet
  • BCFE, Ballyfermot
  • Pat Falvey, 'The Summit Book'