Offaly Mt Everest summiteer sets sight on Africa’s highest Mountain

Ireland’s oldest Mt Everest summiteer, 59 year old Martin Byrne from Coolderry, Co Offaly, is set to scale Africa’s highest Mountain after conquering the world’s highest peak last year

Ireland’s oldest Mt Everest summiteer, 59 year old Martin Byrne from Coolderry, Co Offaly, is set to scale Africa’s highest Mountain after conquering the world’s highest peak last year

Martin Byrne from Coolderry in Co Offaly is a retired Garda who, far from putting his feet up, is set to take on Mount Kilimanjaro from 26th October to 5th November next in aid of Concern Worldwide.

Martin who spent 34 years as a Garda, mainly based at Harcourt Terrace Station in Dublin City Centre, was awarded the Coiste Siamsa annual Sportstar award in November last after climbing Mt Everest on the 26th May 2011. The accolade is presented to members of An Garda Síochána who have made an outstanding contribution in their sport of interest.

As a Garda Martin had been involved in many United Nations missions, in places such as Africa, Bosnia Herzegovinia and South America, and he successfully summited Mount Everest via the North Ridge from Tibet two years ago.

Ahead of this latest challenge the climber is not taking the mission in his stride. “I have been training regularly and working on keeping my fitness levels up. I don’t think I could ever hang up the mountaineering boots indefinitely and I am happy to offer whatever support and advice I can to those embarking on the trip for Concern. It is a great cause and I am proud to be affiliated with the charity and the work that they do,” said Martin.

The climb of the 5895 meter peak will take the group 6 days to complete, this will allow us to get used to the high altitude. This will be the biggest concern. “The consequence of climbing the peak too quickly is altitude sickness - where climbers encounter difficulties in breathing, get headaches, suffer vomiting and face problems with their digestive system,” said Martin.

The Irish Everest record holder has a long association with Concern dating back to the early 1980’s when he worked as a Concern Volunteer from 1985 to 1987 in famine torn Sudan in East Africa. During his position with the Gardai he was seconded by the Department of Foreign Affairs to work in Rwanda following the genocide in that country in 1994 and has been engaged in many fundraising activities for Concern over that period of time.

Anyone can support Martin Byrne’s challenge and help raise some much needed funds for Concern by donating via www.concern.net/yourconcern/martin-byrne or by calling Concern at (01) 417 7700 or calling to the Concern Office, 52 -55 Camden Street, Dublin 2.