By Patrick Flynn
A group of climbers, hoping to scale 26 mountains across the 32 counties in just 10 days, has just completed their first challenge.
The Caitríona Lucas Challenge 2018 got underway earlier today with the team successfully climbing Carrauntoohil in Kerry.
The event has been organised to honour Irish Coast Guard volunteer and mother-of-two Caitríona Lucas who lost her life in the line of duty in September 2016.
The charity event is being led by Caitríona’s husband Bernard, also a member of the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard.
The extensive expedition is expected to be completed following one final climb on Caitríona’s birthday, June 18, when Bernard and his team will scale Clare’s highest peak, Moylussa.
Bernard has been joined for the challenge by Caitríona’s sister Bríd as well as Deirdre Linnane, Gwenn Frin, Michael Healy and Barry Hannigan.
“Monies collected during the event will go directly to the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital. Any groups or individuals who want to join us on any of the mountains are welcome,” Bernard said.
A number of organisations have also stepped up to help the climbers by donating essentials including fuel and transport.
"The public response has been great and we have accommodation sorted for most nights but we have our tents as well just in case,” Bernard added.
Since her untimely and tragic 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.
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.