Group to climb Ireland’s highest peaks for Caitríona

Group to climb Ireland’s highest peaks for Caitríona


A group of hardy climbers will next month embark on a remarkable charity challenge which will see them climb 26 mountains, across the 32 counties in just 10 days.

The event, which will get underway on June 8th, will honour Irish Coast Guard volunteer and mother-of-two Caitríona Lucas who lost her life in the line of duty in September 2016.

Leading the Caitríona Lucas Challenge 2018 will be Caitríona’s husband Bernard, also a member of the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard.

The climbs will begin on June 8th when the team will take on Carrauntoohil in Kerry, Ireland’s highest peak. The challenge is expected to be completed following one final climb on Caitríona’s birthday, June 18th, when Bernard and his team scale Clare’s highest peak, Moylussa.

Bernard Lucas said: “This is something that hasn’t been done before and we know it’s ambitious. Several counties share a peak. Mount Leinster, for example, forms the high point of both Carlow and Wexford. We have a good group of six people and we have been training hard. Most days we will do three or four climbs.”

Bernard will be joined for the challenge by Caitríona’s sister Bríd as well as Deirdre Linnane, Gwenn Frin, Michael Healy and Barry Hannigan.

Bernard Lucas – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

“Monies collected during the event will go to the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital. Any groups or individuals who want to join us on any of the mountains are welcome. We are also looking for accommodation in various places and sponsorship if people can help out,” Bernard added.

“This is something we had planned on doing as a family before the accident, not all at one time, but Deirdre came up with the idea of doing it for Caitríona,” Bernard explained.

Doolin Coast Guard member Deirdre Linnane said, “I just wanted to do something in honour of Caitríona because I was very close to her. She was always into hill climbing and outdoor activities and this idea came to me one day. I got onto a friend to see if it was possible to do it and then I pitched it to Bernard.”

“We don’t think it has been done before. I actually read a book that suggested doing all the peaks over a year. We hope to do it in ten days,” she added.

Since her untimely death, Caitríona has received several posthumous honours including Clare Person of the Year and a BSc Degree in Information and Library Studies from Aberystwyth University in Wales.

Emma Lucas, Bernard Lucas, Gerry O’Reilly,
Back – Ben Lucas, Pat O’Donnell – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

The librarian had been studying by distance learning whilst working as a librarian for Clare County Council, and volunteering for the Irish Coast Guard and the Search and Rescue Dog Association.

Last September, Doolin Coast Guard station was renamed in honour of Caitríona.

**You can donate here.

Bank Details for contributions:

Contributions to Friends of Ennistymon Hospital welcome at the following account:

IBAN: IE90 BOFI 9042 2970 6959 36

Contributors are asked to mark their donation “The Caitríona Challenge”.

Climbing schedule

8th June

7am – Carrauntoohil
2.30 – Knockby

9th June

7am – Galtymore
1pm – Knockmealdown
4.50pm – Brandon Hill

10th June

8am – Mt Leinster
12pm – Lugnaquilla

11th June

8am – Cupidstown Hill
9am – Kippure
2.15pm – Arderin

12th June

9am – Slieve na Calliagh
10am – Mullaghmeen
1.30pm – Corn Hill

13th June

9am – Slieve Gullion
11.30 – Slieve Foye

14th June

7am – Slieve Donard
2pm – Trostan
6pm – Sawel

15th June

10am – Errigal
3.30pm – Truskmore

16th June

9am – Seltannasaggart
12am – Cuilcagh

17th June

10am – Mweelrea
2.30pm – Benbaun

18th June

10am – Moylussa



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.