THE FAMILY and friends of Kilcornan climber Ger McDonnell kept his memory alive at the weekend by hosting a charity cycle to Doolin in his name.
Legend has it that the climber - who died after becoming the first Irishman to successfully summit K2 in 2008 - hopped on a bike years ago and cycled down and back to Doolin after “going off for a pint of milk”. Ger’s friends and fellow DCU graduates, who have since established a scholarship in the climber’s name, came up with the idea for the charity cycle, which was held for the third time last weekend.
Fifty four cyclists in total cycled from Kilcornan Community Centre to Doolin last Saturday, raising several thousand euro in the process for the ‘Bee for Battens - Saoirse Foundation’ charity, which supports those affected by Battens Disease in Ireland.
“We are delighted with how well it went, we were blessed with the weather, we had just one shower outside Tarbert, but everyone enjoyed it immensely,” explained Ger’s brother in law Damien O’Brien afterward, who was the brains of the event, along with Ger’s fellow brother in law Barry Lynch.
“Ger’s friends came down and you had the people who were only getting up on a bike for the first time in years as well as professional cyclists, so there was a great mix. We had some younger cyclists who got a huge cheer when they crossed the finish line in Doolin.”
He added: “It was a great weekend and we just want to thank everyone who took part and helped out”.
The decision to choose the charity was taken after a chance meeting between JJ McDonnell, Ger’s brother, and Tony Heffernan, who lost his daughter Saoirse to the rare neuro-degenerative condition, and who accompanied the cyclists on Saturday.
Mr Heffernan later addressed the cyclists and all those who helped to raise money for the charity, and Damien said it was “a great cause - a sad cause, but a good one at the same time”.