Dev­asted Wicklow stu­dents pay trib­ute to a close friend


STAFF and pupils at Coláiste Bhríde Carnew have paid trib­ute to moun­tain climber Ian McKeever who lost his life on Kil­i­man­jaro last week, af­ter he was struck by light­ning.

Mr. McKeever ac­com­pa­nied a team of four­teen from the Carnew school up Kil­i­man­jaro in July 2011, and a spokesper­son for the school said this week they were dev­as­tated to learn of his tragic pass­ing on the moun­tain he loved so well.

Seven stu­dents, two teach­ers, three par­ents and two doc­tors un­der­took the climb as part of the Carnew school’s group in July 2011. ‘Ian was such a safety con­scious guy,’ said teacher Mon­ica McGet­trick who went on the trip. ‘He did ev­ery­thing from a safety point of view. His prepa­ra­tion for the trip was really thor­ough.’

They spent eight months pre­par­ing to go on the trip. The Carnew group were one of the first school groups to travel to Tan­za­nia with Ian McKeever. ‘His aim with schools was to present a big chal­lenge and a per­sonal chal­lenge for peo­ple,’ she said. ‘He had achieved so much him­self, and he pushed bound­aries for him­self, and he wanted to give oth­ers that chance. He con­nected well with oth­ers, par­tic­u­larly teenagers.’

‘It was an in­cred­i­ble jour­ney,’ she added. ‘ We were camp­ing in fairly cool con­di­tions and there was al­ti­tude sick­ness to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. He was with us on the whole walk, and he em­pow­ered peo­ple to be­lieve in them­selves. He was a fan­tas­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tor.’

‘Peo­ple are still in shock and very up­set,’ she con­tin­ued. ‘It’s hard to be­lieve really. He has been taken in his favourite part of the world. He was at his hap­pi­est there. He loved Kil­i­man­jaro and Tan­za­nia and spent a lot of the past year and a half go­ing over and back there.’

She re­called on the day that they reached the sum­mit, it was a spec­tac­u­lar morn­ing. ‘We watched the sun­rise come up over the clouds. It was mag­i­cal, and very emo­tional,’ she said. ‘It was a high­light in our own per­sonal lives. We were so priv­i­leged to even have had time with Ian and we’ll al­ways re­mem­ber him.’

Carnew stu­dents with Ian McKeever at the sum­mit of Mount Kil­i­man­jaro.

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