09 Aug 2022

Portarlington to Wexford by kayak

TWO Portarlington friends are embarking on a brave and possibly dangerous mission this Friday June 8.

TWO Portarlington friends are embarking on a brave and possibly dangerous mission this Friday June 8.

Alan Mitchell and Eoin O’Neill are planning to paddle 100 miles of the river Barrow from Port to New Ross in a two man kayak.

The intrepid pair are hoping that two months of training has prepared them for the journey, which they estimate will take four days, and includes several dangerous weirs,

“Natural weirs always have a way down, but manmade ones can be dangerous. A man was drowned in one last year. We have trained with a club in Blessington lake, learning how to escape if the boat capsizes, but we are hoping our life jackets will do the job to keep us safe,” Eoin said.

They are attempting to raise money for a friend of Alan’s who nearly died earlier this year from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Keith Lenihan from Rhode has been left unable to work following an incredibly close brush with death.

“He did a headshave to raise money for a defibrillator in his local Centra shop earlier this year. He was in there shopping a while ago when he just dropped to the ground. The staff used that defibrillator on him until the ambulance arrived,” Eoin said.

Keith now has the same piece of technology installed inside him that is keeping soccer player Fabrice Muamba’s heart in steady rhythm, but he has had to give up work.

“We just want to raise as much money for him as we can,” says Eoin.

Eoin estimates the kayak trip will take them four days, if they are not hampered by floods. So far their efforts to organise someone to accompany them in a motorboat or on land, carrying their tents and food, have been unsuccessful.

“We hope to do ten hours of rowing a day. Worst case scenario, we will bring on a tent, but that makes balancing harder. Hopefully we will get someone to meet us in spots. We will be eating on the go, things like high energy bars,” he explains.

Alan has sponsorship cards available to sign in his Portarlington shop, Al’s Fish Shop, and more are in shops throughout the town. There is also an account set up with AIB. See Sponsored Kayak on facebook for updates on the fundraiser.

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