Bray’s ‘Row-A-Round Ire­land’ team tak­ing on ‘Shan­non by Oar’

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

The crew be­hind the epic ‘Row-A-Round Ire­land’ chal­lenge of 2015 are at it again.

Three years ago, a Bray-based team, in­clud­ing Joey the dog, suc­cess­fully cir­cum­nav­i­gated Ire­land in a 15-foot wooden row­ing skiff in aid of Cys­tic Fi­bro­sis Ire­land. Now Ger and his team are about to stick their oars in once again.

This month, they will start ‘Shan­non By Oar’ in aid of the Ir­ish Hospice Foun­da­tion and Wick­low Hospice Foun­da­tion.

Over their four-month ad­ven­ture in 2015, they cap­tured the at­ten­tion of the Ir­ish pub­lic and raised €110,000 for their ef­forts.

Ger Crow­ley was the man be­hind the con­struc­tion of the skiff, dubbed ‘NAMA’. Ger is Joey the dog’s hu­man and while the ca­nine team-mem­ber has been out in the boat for train­ing ses­sions, it is un­clear whether he can be en­ticed out of re­tire­ment for the event proper.

Three boats will travel 160 miles down the river Shan­non from Thurs­day, May 31, to Satur­day, June 9. Ger has once again built the crafts, along with lo­cal vol­un­teers and some of the row­ers.

The crew has been train­ing hard in re­cent weeks in prepa­ra­tion to row the long­est river in Ire­land. The team of 12 is com­prised of row­ers of all abil­i­ties from Bray, Dublin, Sligo, Lim­er­ick, Meath, Lon­don and New Zealand. Their coura­geous cam­paign will take them from the top of Lough Allen in County Leitrim to Lim­er­ick over the nine days.

Along the way, the crew will nav­i­gate some 12kms of Lough Allen, 32kms across Lough Ree and 42km over Lough Derg as well as many other small lakes and large stretches of free-flow­ing river. And, of course, they will be try­ing to raise as much money as pos­si­ble in the process. The pro­ceeds will be evenly split be­tween the Ir­ish Hospice Foun­da­tion, which de­liv­ers hospice care and be­reave­ment sup­ports na­tion­wide, and the Wick­low Hospice Foun­da­tion which is about to com­mence con­struc­tion of a 15-bed pal­lia­tive care unit at Magher­more.

‘Very few of us have not been touched by the work of a hospice at some point and the Shan­non By Oar crew hopes that the hospice mis­sion to pro­vide dig­ni­fied end-of-life care, to­gether with its row­ers’ valiant un­der­tak­ing, will in­spire the Ir­ish pub­lic to support them gen­er­ously ei­ther by do­na­tion or by cheer­ing them on as they pro­ceed down the Shan­non,’ said the team. To make a do­na­tion, find ‘shan­non­byoar’ on Min­is­ter for Health Si­mon Har­ris has pro­vided spon­sor­ship for the team.

Fionn Crow­ley, John Hearns, Ro­nan Whe­lan, Alan Con­nolly and Ger Crow­ley with Joey the dog ahead of the Shan­non by Oar chal­lenge.

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