Three school friends from West Cork are amongst a group of Irish hiking enthusiasts who have scaled Kilimanjaro in aid of three deserving charities.
Ten college graduates from six counties in Ireland climbed the world’s tallest free-standing mountain in August, raising €11,500 to date for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, Save Elders Tanzania; and the Irish Kidney Association.
On August 7-13 this year, as part of the Get Up that Hill initiative, the 10 friends tested their physical and mental endurance as they scaled 5,895m of the Tanzanian mountain.
Amongst them were three West Cork men: Ruairi Mensink, from Allihies; Ciarán O’Sullivan, from Castletownbere; and Seamus Lyons from Eyeries. Ciarán, Ruairi, and Seamus went to school together at Beara Community School.
Ciarán O’Sullivan, who works in operations for Australian tech company Halaxy, said that the hiking group grew to 10 through networking and college connections, and having now climbed Kilimanjaro together they have formed “friendships for life”.
“It took us seven days and six nights to complete, and in that time we hiked through rainforest, moorland, and the daily changes in temperature of the alpine desert from extreme heat to freezing cold. The scenery was spectacular and different every single day,” he added.
Ciarán said that the terrain and altitude changes brought different challenges including headaches, muscle pain, and breathing difficulties, but local guides were able to help them navigate the terrain and mental challenges.
“When our resolve began to falter, we gave each other encouragement to push through, motivated by our pledge to help three deserving causes,” he said.
The group self-financed the trip, to ensure that every cent raised went into the fundraising pot. With funds still coming in since their expedition in August, to date €11,500 has been raised through their Gofundme platform.
The group are also reminding people that the Irish Kidney Association’s 37th Annual Service of Remembrance & Thanksgiving will be broadcast on RTÉ One and RTÉ Radio 1 at 11am on Sunday, October 30.