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Displaying items by tag: Charity

After 55 days at sea, the St Michael’s Rowing Club duo of Kevin O’Farrell and Rob Collins completed their epic journey across the Atlantic earlier this week.

Setting off from southern Portugal in early April in a small craft as part of a four-man crew, alongside Dutch rowers Ralph Tujin and Somon van de Hoek, the Irish pair battled rough seas, technical hitches and physical injuries to arrive in French Guiana 55 days later.

Using just their own strength and the ocean currents, the crew worked in two-hour shifts, day and night, for nearly two months. They had to hunker down in a tiny cabin off the coast of Portugal when they hit a storm with sea swells the size of a house. Then, they were nearly run over by a tanker off the coast of the Canary Islands.

Hard luck hit when they realised they had to repair their boat in the Cape Verde islands as their navigation equipment broke. An unexpected challenge was to battle a four-hour onslaught from a shoal of flying fish in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Rob Collins (left) and Kevin O’Farrell at sea in their four-person ocean rowing boatRob Collins (left) and Kevin O’Farrell at sea in their four-person ocean rowing boat

But it was all worth it as on Monday (30 May), they rowed up the Kourou River to reach their final destination, the small town of Kourou in French Guiana, where they were greeted with fireworks and a few well-deserved beers.

A very warm welcome awaits the ‘Salty Pair’ of Robert and Kevin back in Dun Laoghaire, where fellow St Michael’s members will gather round a pint of choice to hear their stories and be inspired by their adventures.

Robert and Kevin rowed across the Atlantic in aid of Muscular Dystrophy Ireland - inspired by Fionn, who lives with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy.

A voluntary organisation, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland supports kids like Fionn and their families by providing a wide range of respite and support services all year-round, advocating for their community and educating society about neuromuscular conditions and supporting researchers and clinicians to carry out quality research into neuromuscular conditions.

Donations to Robert and Kevin’s fundraising effort can still be made via iDonate HERE.

Published in Coastal Rowing

Two members of St Michael’s Rowing Club in Dun Laoghaire are preparing to row across the Atlantic for a special cause — and faster than anyone has before.

Robert Collins and Kevin O’Farrell are aiming to break the world record for the fastest row from mainland Europe to mainland South America in aid of Muscular Dystrophy Ireland — inspired by the son of a family friend who was diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy.

Starting in Portugal this Friday 1 April, they will be rowing as part of a five-person crew, non-stop for at least 48 days across the Atlantic to French Guiana in South America — spending every day together in a small boat, battling the weather and the ocean.

They will be rowing 12 hours each day, two hours on, two hours off. Their crew will be unsupported, carrying all equipment and food necessary to sustain them on their expedition.

The so-called ‘Salty Pair’ has previously trained for the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge despite no prior experience in rowing, but were forced to withdraw due to the “challenges we faced in preparing for the race during a global pandemic”.

The five-person crew in training for ‘Kev and Rob’s Atlantic Row’The five-person crew in training for ‘Kev and Rob’s Atlantic Row’

Robert and Kevin said of their latest attempt: “We’re raising funds for a charity close to our hearts. Fionn, the son of a family friend, was diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy at the age of three. It is a muscle-wasting disease with a poor prognosis.

“Inspired by Fionn’s story, we will be raising funds for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, who have given Fionn, his family and other afflicted families incredible support through the toughest times a parent can imagine.”

A voluntary organisation, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland supports kids like Fionn and their families by providing a wide range of respite and support services all year round, advocating for their community and educating society about neuromuscular conditions and supporting researchers and clinicians to carry out quality research into neuromuscular conditions.

To support Kev and Rob’s Atlantic Row, donate via the iDonate website HERE. All money raised will go to their chosen charity, with the rowers bearing all costs linked to the row itself.

Published in Rowing

A Donegal octogenarian has completed his marathon effort to swim at as many spots around the Irish coast as possible — raising more than €100,000 for charity in the process.

As the Sunday World reports, Paddy Conaghan skipped Christmas and even his own 81st birthday bash to round the island of Ireland in his van for the ‘Ducking & Driving Around Ireland’.

Paddy set out at the start of December, working his way anti-clockwise from his home on Arranmore, as previously noted on Afloat.ie.

Despite some hiccups along the way — including a change of van after an unfortunate breakdown in Kerry — he returned home to a hero’s welcome yesterday (Saturday 12 February) having raised a six-figure sum for local counselling service Gemma's Legacy of Hope.

The Sunday World has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim
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Six sea swimmers from Ireland have succeeded in their attempt to cross the North Channel in winter — setting a new record in the process.

According to RTÉ News, the members of the Walrus Swim Team completed the 35km relay swim from Donaghadee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland in just under 13 hours on Friday (14 January).

And what makes their achievement even more remarkable is that the sextet — who met while swimming at the Forty Foot in Dublin — took to the chilling waters of the North Channel without the protection of wetsuits.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim

A team of six sea swimmers aim to make history later this week with the first crossing of the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland in winter.

As RTÉ News reports, the Walrus Swim Team comprises regulars at the Forty Foot in south Dublin who met during the pandemic as indoor pools were closed.

This Friday 14 January, the six — Dave Berry, Declan Bradshaw, Vincent Donegan, Ger Kennedy, Niamh McCarthy and Colm Morris — will take to the water at Donaghadee in Northern Ireland for the 35km relay swim to Portpatrick in aid of the the Gavin Glynn Foundation, which supports families fighting childhood cancer.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim
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An intrepid pair of kayakers are now five days into their 10-day adventure paddling the length of the River Shannon from source to sea.

Eoin Connolly and Ronan McDonnell skipped the usual festive fare as they set out on Christmas Eve in their two-person kayak to tackle the epic 360km route.

And it’s all for a good cause, specifically the Rafiki Network which assists young mothers in Zimbabwe by providing them with support for mental health and income generation.

Follow Eoin and Ronan’s progress on their Instagram page as they aim to complete the challenge in the coming days.

Published in Kayaking
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A Donegal octogenarian has set himself the mammoth task of going for an open water swim at as many Irish beaches and piers as possible.

As RTÉ News reports, Paddy Conaghan is living out of a van for the duration of his ‘Ducking & Driving Around Ireland’ charity challenge, which he began at the start of this month.

The 80-year-old from Arranmore is working his way anti-clockwise around the coast of Ireland and most recently has been enjoying the hospitality of Co Kerry’s coastal communities.

What’s more, he’s already raised nearly €50,000 for local counselling service Gemma's Legacy of Hope — and hopes to raise much more before the expected completion of his lap around the island in February.

Follow’s Paddy’s adventures on his Facebook page HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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After seven weeks and 500km of open water, ‘Marathon Man’ Alan Corcoran completed his epic swimming challenge from the Causeway Coast to Tramore on Monday morning, 22 July.

Sadly Alan wasn’t able to join supporters in the mass public swim organised to greet his arrival on Sunday, due to poor weather conditions that delated his approach along the Waterford coast.

But with some of those closet to him by his side, he wasted no time early on Monday by taking the first break in the weather at the crack of dawn to swim the final stretch from Ballymacaw to Tramore Strand.

“Four final hours of swimming and I can now proudly say, mission complete,” he wrote on his Facebook page where he’s been charing his adventure.

And Alan is still accepting donations for his chosen charities the Irish Heart Foundation and Solas Cancer Support Centre. See MarathonMan.co for more details.

Published in Sea Swim
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Close to 130 hardy souls will take to the waters of Galway Bay tomorrow (Saturday 20 July) for the 14th annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the early sell-out event is one of Ireland’s biggest and longest one-day swims — comprising a 13km course between Aughinish in Co Clare and the Blackrock diving tower in Salthill, just west of Galway city centre.

This year’s swimmers will be hoping to beat last year’s fundraising total of over €100,000 for Cancer Care West.

And among them is Christina Hyland, who writes for the Galway Advertiser about her preparations for the open water swim.

Elsewhere, a charity swim of a different kind is being planned for Belfast Lough next Friday (26 July).

As the Carrick Times reports, a local councillor and five fellow swimmers will take on the challenge of crossing shipping lanes between Grey Point at Helen’s Bay and Carrickfergus Castle — a distance of nearly four nautical miles, or 7km.

Published in Sea Swim
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‘Marathon Man’ Alan Corcoran has reached Howth and Dublin Bay, 36 days into his 500km open water swimming challenge from the Causeway Coast to Tramore.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Alan took on the mammoth task after completing an already ambitious run around the island of Ireland — and becoming the first man to do so — in 2012 tribute to his father, former FAI president Milo Corcoran.

A previous attempt at the long-distance swim in 2017 after his father’s death ended prematurely when his support boat sank, which only made Alan more determined to get it done this time around.

And he surpassed his previous efforts when he crossed the North-South border at Carlingford Lough last week.

While Alan says he’s not as far along as he’d hoped by this stage — due to the typically temperamental conditions around the Irish coast — he’s reminded himself that “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”.

Alan is blogging his adventures on Facebook, charting all the highs and lows of his 80-odd hours of swimming this far — including his first jellyfish sting off the north Co Dublin coast.

And he’s also appealing for swimmers to join him in a mass sea swim event for the final stretch to Tramore later this month — and to raise finds for his chosen charities the Irish Heart Foundation and Solas Cancer Support Centre.

Published in Sea Swim
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