An intrepid 10-year-old explorer today became the youngest person in Europe to climb one of the world’s highest mountains.
Sean McSharry, from Stillorgan, south Co Dublin, reached the peak of Kilimanjaro in north east Tanzania – the highest in Africa – at noon Irish time.
Sean, the godson of renowned adventurer Ian McKeever, who last year clinched the world record for the seven summits challenge by climbing each of the continents highest peaks in the fastest time, has been training for the last three months.
Having avidly followed his godfather’s exciting exploits, Sean developed a thirst for adventure and the pair began plotting their big trek along with 17-year-old Dubliner Harry Moore.
An accomplished young rugby player, he became involved with the challenge after Ian gave a talk to students at Terenure College.
“Sean himself was in awe of what Ian was doing,” family friend and spokesperson Eugene Grey said.
“I think Ian and himself just got talking about the possibility of doing it and he had begun to prepare himself when Ian was away last year.
“Ian was the catalyst that made it happen.”
Sean narrowly missed out on becoming the youngest person in the world to reach the colossal 5,898 metres summit after organisers discovered he had been beaten to it in 2006 by 10-year-old Californian Jordan Romero.
“We thought we had the title, but it’s still an amazing feat,” said Mr Grey.
Sean’s training regime has been tough, with the youngster being forced to forego the pleasures of sweets and chocolates for a strict diet of green vegetables, earning him the nickname at Blackrock’s Carrysfort National School - the broccoli kid.
Ian, Sean and Harry trained five days a week for the challenge, including treks in the Wicklow mountains.
Sean also reached the summit of Ireland’s highest peak, Carantouhill in Co Kerry, when he was just nine.
The trio are expected to return home to Dublin on Tuesday.