TY Charity Cycle Around Ireland -by Alex Donohoe

T.Y Charity Cycle For Crumlin Children’s Hospital

On a bright lively Friday morning on the 15th of March a group of 23 Transition year students set off on their charity cycle around Ireland. The cycle took the place of the regular ‘mini-companies’ set up in T.Y each year and was conceived by the boys’ housemaster Paul Huntly. To give a brief overview of the task in hand, the boys would be travelling close to 1,400km over a 15 day period with 2 groups of 12 boy’s cycling between 45 – 60 (and sometimes more!) a day. While one group was cycling the other would travel to the next town and bucket there.

 The first stop of the journey was lunch in Foynes and Ballybunion generously donated by the Mulvihill family. The weather wasn’t perfect entering Kerry with wind and hailstones dampening the high spirits. When the sign for Welcome to Tralee appeared, a sigh of relief (and roar from Bernard Cosgrove) was had by all after what seemed like a never ending day. We settled into our hostel and fell straight asleep. On day two we were informed that one group would have to climb the Kerry mountains and although it sounded like a tremendous task at the time, wasn’t as tough as first expected and carried with it a great 10km downhill. After a quick stop in the Brennan’s care, we set off for Bantry in West Cork. The hostel wasn’t quite the Ritz but the beds were sufficient as we enjoyed Bantry’s pre-St Patricks days’ festival. After an uncomfortable sleep we set off to lunch in sunny Glandore before professionally leading a St Patricks day parade through Clonakilty town. After the parade one group faced perhaps their most challenging cycle to Cork city more than 70km in total. When we reached out Cork hostel, everybody was just thankful for our rest day that was to follow.

After a rest day of bucketing around Cork city and watching the schools cup finals we set off for Waterford town where we were hosted by Dooley’s hotel on the river front. The Frisby family generously organized what had to be the stay of the trip. After a great nights rest we set off for Gorey in Wexford where we were greeted with a surprise of holiday houses. There were 5 to a house and while Joe Hartnett flooded his bathroom with the Jacuzzi bath, our supervisors, Paul Huntly and Felix Ross got a little excited and took turns pushing each other down the stairs in their duvet ‘cars’. After a super night in Gorey, the weather took a turn and we set off for Dublin in the freezing rain. There was little to amuse on the trip up the motorway. When we reached the Sweetman’s house in Dun Laogharie, the bikes were hidden from view and we looked forward to a great nights recovery. Everyone that is apart from Peter Prendergast who, in the cold and rain, went in search of the Sweetman’s and then decided it was time for a small sleep on somebody’s porch. When eventually kicked off and pointed in the direction of the Garda station, he arrived home (with early signs of hypothermia!) at 2.00am and all of this while wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and cycling shorts.

The weather in Dublin didn’t improve the next day when we were scheduled to bucket on Grafton street. This was intended to be our biggest day for collecting money but unfortunately we ended up with only a fraction of our target for the capital. The next day we set off for Cavan, one of the longest total distances on the trip. When we arrived in Cavan town everybody was looking forward to getting to the hostel and finishing up for the day, but as it transpired, our hostel was another 25km outside of Cavan. After a few nasty hills we reached Arvagh, the point where the three provinces meet, and settled down for the evening. Our next destination was Boyle in Co Roscommon. The cycle was split up into four groups of 6 for this leg, as it was a tough 130km door to door. After a good night beside Lough Arrow, we headed for Westport, home of Tim Costigan, this years junior cup captain. And after he had received a hero’s welcome we all celebrated Killian Glynn’s birthday with a great meal and cake prepared by the Costigans. For our fourth, and final day of the leg we travelled from Westport to Galway city where we would spend our third and final rest day and after a torturous trail including a 10km straight path into Galway we arrived in good humour, although it was clear by the end of the day that the fatigues were really setting in.

After a successful day bucketing and meeting the Connaught team in Galway city, we set off on our final stretch of the journey. Our final overnight stop was in Ennis. While the first group ventured to the Cliffs of Moher, the second went to Shannon airport where we met some of the Munster team heading off. After getting a few pictures, we met the others at the cliffs and set off for Ennis. When we were arrived nobody was really in the mood to do anything but sleep. On our final morning we were on the road bright and early, we had a quick breakfast in the Oakwood arms hotel where we started our campaign in November. When we arrived in Annacotty, there was a quick stopover as we collected some parents who wanted to finish the cycle with us we then powered our way through the last 10k, raced up the driveway (probably the most drowning part of the trip) and finished through the arch.

The 15 day adventure had taken us all around the republic and although we faced some of Ireland’s worst; weather, roads and hostels we came out it better for the experience. We didn’t quite raise our target amount for Crumlin but we did raise €23’000 which is at least €23’000 that they didn’t have two weeks earlier.

Everybody involved in the cycle would like to thanks the following people for the hard work and effort they put in in either organizing the cycle itself or meals or accommodation along the way:

Paul Huntly for basically doing a bit of everybody’s job and organizing everything we couldn’t.

Felix Ross, Aidan McNulty and Markus Muller for looking after us along the way.

Ms. Mairead O’Sullivan for organizing articles and publicity for us.

The O’Sullivan family for providing their own car and trailer to us for the trip (which they had kitted out with information on the cycle themselves!)

The Boland family for providing us with a great mini van which transported everybody else.

The Sweetman and Ringrose families for having 27 people to eat and sleep all over their houses.

The Mulvihill, O’Sullivan, Floyd, Quane, Brennan, Prendergast, Donohoe, Frisby, Boland, O’Connor, Sweetman, McAleese, Mulligan, Hogan, Johnston, O’Hara,  ,Costigan, Glynn, Sweeney and Ryan families for providing us with lunches and supplies to last us long after the trip.

The online donation link is still online for a few more days at:

http://www.longwayaround.ie/

For more information on the cycle the following links are articles published along the way:

http://www.limerickleader.ie/community/community-news/latest-news/glenstal-boys-raise-7-000-for-crumlin-hospital-1-4568086

http://www.limerickpost.ie/index.php/navigation-mainmenu-30/local-news/5769-glenstal-students-take-long-way-around.html

http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/glenstal-boys-begin-to-put-pedals-to-the-metal-in-charity-cycle-1-4902227

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/students-take-long-way-around-to-raise-40000-29149042.html

http://www.connachtrugby.ie/2013032883260/glenstal-boys-cycle-visit-connacht-rubgby