From Africa to Alcatraz

I’ve been taking it easy since I got back from Uganda.  Well, I’ve been going to the gym twice a week and gym guru David has increased the weights I’m lifting, so at least I’m getting some good workouts in between the naughty bits.  The naughty bits include a recent trip to Germany to visit friends, which saw me go to the spa, walk in a snowy forest, and consume enough sausage, bread, pastry, cheese and red wine, to keep me going right across Christmas!

I’ve had a bevy of parties already, and the 98FM Radio Christmas Party is on this Friday – but then I’m off to Kerry on Saturday with my bike, and I’ll be camping, cycling, horse-riding, rock climbing and hiking on Carrauntoohil – weather dependent.  While the following weekend, I’m off to horseride again at Flowerhill, near Portumna in Galway.  I reckon it’s about 15 miles from Ballinasloe train station, so again I think I’ll make things interesting and take the bike.   Since Uganda, I’ve changed the way I think about the bike.  It was a training tool, cycling in and out to work (30k round trip) in a bid to work up strength for the Africa tri-adventure with Concern.  But after cycling over 200k from Mt Elgon to the Nile, I now feel very self-sufficient having the bike with me as a means of transport. Weather doesn’t matter – you just dress for the weather.  Have wheels, have freedom!

The Biggest Escape Since Alcatraz

You know, I guess the secret to keeping fit over Christmas is to find things to do with friends that are active and fun.  I started writing this blog with a sense of aplogy for being lazy, but when I look at all the stuff I’ve got planned, I realise I’m actually planning quite an active festive holiday.  Gosh it’s so good to have a body that will let me do this stuff.  Three years ago I was trapped in my own personal 23-stone prison.   It’s not with triumph but with gratefulness and hope that I realise I tore down those prison walls, pound by pound, with my own bare hands – and so many more of us can do the same.   The biggest escape since Alcatraz!

Get Off The Couch

The fun really starts in 2013.  I’m hosting a new television programme with Athena Media and Setanta, which aims to get people all around the country to join me and seek out a new life of adventure in the great outdoors.  The word spread quickly in Dublin and there’s been a huge response, but we’re trying to reach people outside my beloved Dublin too.  So if you know someone who you think might like to “Get Off The Couch”.  Tell them to get in touch with Rob@athenamedia.ie.

Who are we looking for? People like me who never thought they could be active or sporty, but had a secret curiosity about how that might feel.   People who I can encourage to come with me and discover the great outdoors, with the help of some amazing sports enthusiasts who are willing to share their passion for life and sport.   I want to open a door and invite people to come through like I did, and feel the breeze and the sun on their face and the taste of salt on their lips and…. and…




  • 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'