17th Annual Tour de Munster launched

17th Annual Tour de Munster launched

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Photo: Keith Weisman

The 17th Annual Tour de Munster in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland and Individual Beneficiaries has been launched at Bunratty Castle.

The four day charity cycle, which was launched by cycling legend Sean Kelly and celebrity guest Aoibhín Garrihy in the beautiful grounds of Bunratty Castle takes place from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th August, and will see over 100 amateur cyclists cycle over 600km around the six counties of Munster, raising funds for the Munster branches of DSI and individual beneficiaries.

Tour de Munster organiser Paul Sheridan established the popular cycle in 2001, which has had a life changing impact on the lives of countless people through its fundraising efforts.

This is the 8th successive year that the national charity has been the beneficiary of the popular cycle. A new addition to this year’s Tour de Munster is the option for cyclists to select their own beneficiary and raise funds and awareness for it. Fundraising can include personal sponsorship, but also commercial sponsorship whereby a sponsor logo placement will accompany a donation attracted by that participant.

The official launch event was attended by over 160 invited guests, including members from the various Munster branches of DSI and families supported by the charity, tour sponsors, celebrity guests and many of the cyclists taking part this year.

The 2016 cycle raised €285,655 for the charity, resulting in over €1.9 million raised for DSI alone. Since its inception in 2001, Tour de Munster has raised over €2.4 million for its beneficiaries. Over the partnership’s history, Tour de Munster has developed close ties and formed lasting friendships with DSI, with many of the charity’s parents and friends participating in the cycle year after year. The aim this year is to raise a further €250,000 for DSI.

Funds raised have made a tremendous difference to the lives of people with Down Syndrome in Munster, as well as their friends and families by providing vital services and facilities in each county. The goal of DSI is to enable children born with Down Syndrome to be as independent as possible, and through the great work of the Tour de Munster cyclists and supporters, DSI can access the funding needed to help more young people with Down Syndrome develop and flourish in practical ways.

Sean Kelly, who this August will celebrate his 12th year supporting the charity cycle, is delighted to celebrate DSI’s 8th year as beneficiary of funds raised. Speaking at the launch Sean said: “I am honoured to once again be associated with Tour de Munster and its beneficiaries, the members of the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland and individual beneficiaries. Each year from beginning to end the whole Tour de Munster is such an enjoyable and varied event. It is fantastic to meet everyone involved, especially the individuals benefitting from the funds raised and to watch the support for the tour grow year upon year.”

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick.

Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station’s flagship current affairs programme.

He was also the station’s News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day.

As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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