An Offaly man is leading the way to raise funds for Down Syndrome Ireland with a marathon cycle this coming weekend.
Ronan Scully is hoping to raise vitally needed funds for the charity. The countdown is on to the departure, next Friday morning, March 23, of the 25th edition of the legendary Galway Cycle.
And as befits the anniversary, this year’s event, run by Maynooth Students for Charity in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland, is set to be bigger and better than ever.
Every year since 1987, a group of students have left NUI Maynooth and made the trip across country from the college to Galway’s Eyre Square on the Friday of the last weekend in March.
They rattle buckets, juggle, sing songs and generally brighten up the city centre all day Saturday, before climbing on their bikes again on Sunday for the return trip.
It’s a 400 km round trip and participants have been in training since before Christmas.
The money raised this year will be used to roll out an early development program across the country which has already been piloted successfully.
But it’s a far cry from 1987 when Ronan was one of 12 cyclists who made their way across the country to raise funds for the ISPCC.
Since then almost €750,000 has been raised for a variety of worthy causes, some of them Galway-based, such as Headstrong’s Jigsaw Project and the National Breast Council Research Institute, based in UCG. On the evening of Sunday, March 25, at about 5.30, 255 cyclists will arrive into the square in Maynooth.
Preparations are already well underway to celebrate their arrivals into Galway and back to Maynooth, with bands, a champagne reception and lots of other festivities.
“We’re very very grateful to the people of my home county of Offaly and or the Midlands generally for their generosity to us over the past
24 years,” Galway Cycle veteran Ronan Scully explained.
“We’re especially delighted with the support of Applegreen who have come forward to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary as well as raising vitally needed funds for Down Syndrome Ireland,” he added.
“The 23rd, 24th and 25th are going to be a great weekend in aid of a great cause, and we can‘t wait.”
We’ll be passing throught the midlands from about 9am until noon on Friday and from 2pm until 4.30pm on Sunday. For more information see www.galwaycycle.ie or www.downsyndrome.ie