Padraig Brennan and his 19th time cycling the Ring of Kerry.
Padraig Brennan, from Waterville first got involved with the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle in 1991, the eighth year of the event. Since then he has successfully completed the 112-mile route 18 times. 2011 will be his 19th time to participate in the Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle in aid of local Kerry charities.
As far back as 1991 Marian 0’Neill asked Padraig to participate in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle. No other local cyclist was taking part so his plan was to cycle with a group from Waterville to Caherdaniel but he ended up traveling as far as Sneem. He collected £120 that year for the Irish Cancer Society (South Kerry Daffodil Nurse).
Padraig said “At that time there were only a few hundred cyclists taking part and I decided there and then that my next involvement would be to do the complete the Ring at some stage”. He started to do more training on the bike and in 1993 he took part in his first full Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle.
In the early years Padraig cycled with a few people from Caherciveen, Jack McCarthy, Jackie O’ Sullivan, Caitriona McSweeney and others. Gradually Anne Marie Dundon, Joe Curran and a few more people from Waterville got involved also. Padraig is now a member of the Caherciveen/Killorglin CUCC.
Initially when Padraig started out there was just one nominated charity and a few hundred cyclists. Nowadays he is delighted to see that there are a number of charities nominated each year and the number of cyclists has increased to thousands, making the Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle the biggest one-day charity cycle in Ireland.
Over the past 20 years Padraig has cycled to raise funds for many charities such as the Kerry Diabetic Association, Kerry Downs Syndrome Association, Kerry Parents and Friends and Skellig Stars among others. “I always find people very generous with their contributions and I get good sponsorship every year. You can take in the magnificent scenery on a fine day but of course you can get a bad day weather-wise, which we got in 2005 when we had wind/rain almost from start to finish but when I got into Killarney that evening the sun shone!”
It typically takes Padraig between 7 and 7.5 hrs, actually on the bike, to complete the 112-mile route. However he recalls, “I think in 1997 we did not cycle Molls Gap. Instead we went onto Kilgarvan as Jackie Healy Rae had been elected TD for South Kerry that year!”
Padraig and usual cycling buddy, Joe Curran, normally travel up in the morning. They leave about 6am and their first stop is at Derry/Mary T Doyles Eloyd House, where they get a great welcome and a hearty Irish breakfast to get them started for the day.
They have made many friends down through the years and still meet a lot of the same faces every year. Padraig says that the part of the Ring of Kerry Cycle he finds the hardest is from Molls Gap into Killarney, “as you’re coming to the end of the cycle and the legs are not pushing the pedals as you would want them to be. It’s also downhill, windy and you’re braking as well”.
2011 will be Padraig Brennan’s 19th Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Charity cycle in succession and he says he is looking forward to it “as if it was my first”! He says his only disappointment is that it happens to be over so quickly. “You’re the most part of a year gearing yourself up for it, then it’s over in hours and there is a long 12 months to the next one. Long may it last and I hope to keep doing it as long as the legs keep turning the pedals”.
The 28th annual Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle is a 112 mile leisure cycle, which to date has raised over €4.1 million for more than 100 charities, The 2011 event takes place on Saturday, July 2nd.
The seven principal charities which will benefit from taking part in the 2011 Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle are The Irish Kidney Association, Kerry Parents & Friends Association, Friends of St Josephs House, Recovery Haven, The Irish Society for Autism, Skellig Stars and The IHCPT. 15 other charities will also benefit from funds raised through the cycle.
The 2010 Cycle attracted over 4,000 international cyclists of all ages and experience, taking part in a fun and rewarding day’s cycling, raising over €500,000.
To participate in the 2011 Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle cycle register online at www.ringofkerrycycle.ie For phone enquiries call 064 6671900.