A group of Macra members from the Devilsbit club in Co. Tipperary are set to undertake a whopping 700-km cycle from Malin Head to Mizen Head, all in aid of charity.
“It is about 700kms altogether and it will be done over five days”, said one of the organizers John Keane.
The group consists of seven farming members of the Marca club, Devilsbit, which covers Templemore, Roscrea and Thurles areas. Originally, there was set to be eight members taking part in the cycle from August 6th to August 10th, though a recent sporting injury meant one Fergal Leonard had to retire from the event early. Training, however, commenced as early as April for the team of seven, with John noting they are well on their way.
“Unfortunately he (Fergal Leonard) tore his hamstring the week before last”, said John.
“Preparation is well underway, we are busy training since the start of April. We are getting there. The first couple of months were tough, as we have never done anything like this before, but we said we would give it a go”, John added.
The group of seven consists of both dairy and beef farmers. Participants include John Keane (dairy), Caoimhe Egan (dairy), Thomas Kelly, Padraig Kennedy (dairy), Jonathan Dwyer (dairy), Joe Maher (dairy) and Michael Kelly.
“The majority of us are dairy and beef farmers. We are all members of Devilsbit Macra, based in Tipperary...That's how we all know each other”, said John.
The idea -
The idea was the brainchild of Laois dairy and beef farmer, John Keane, who is in a farm partnership with his father milking approximately 100 cows in a spring calving system, while they also raise calves for beef.
He first came up with the idea back in the early Spring and the group is undertaking the mammoth journey all in aid of Embrace farm, a support network for those affected by farming accidents and tragedies.
“The idea first came up in early Spring, I had the mad notion that we would do something for charity”, said John.
“I put it to the members of our Macra club and I got seven or eight volunteers who were mad enough to try and cycle from Malin head to Mizen head”, he continued.
John said the group decided on Embrace Farm as their charity, due to the increased number of farm accidents and fatalities in recent years and because agriculture plays such a strong role within the group.
“The seven doing it are all heavily involved in farming and full-time farmers”, John said.
“We looked around and seen all of the farm accidents happening and farm deaths occurring lately and we said it would be a very worthy cause for us to try and do something for them and create some awareness”, he continued.
The group will attempt to raise as much money as possible for Embrace Farm through a gofundme page set up, where they have set a €5,000 goal. To date, they have already raised €645 of their target.
The Journey -
As mentioned they journey will commence on August 6th, finishing up on Day five in Mizen head Co. Cork. In total, the team of seven will undertake a journey of almost 800kms, slightly longer than the standard Malin to Mizen cycle.
“We are coming down some of the west coast as well, just to get a bit of scenery I suppose and to make it a bit more interesting for ourselves”, said John.
Day One - August 6th - Malin to Bundoran
Day Two - August 7th - Bundoran to Tuam
Day Three - August 8th - Tuam to Cross, Co. Clare.
Day Four - August 9th - Cross to Killarney
Day Five - August 10th - Killarney to Mizen Head.
Hard work and Importance of the event -
John says events like these are extra important, with farm accidents at an all-time high in recent times. He said the group hopes that at the very least, the cycle will help promote the need for further farm safety awareness.
“It is time to create farm safety awareness, particularly in young people as that is where most of the change will come from”, he said.
John also took time to thank the group for their significant efforts and training to date, while he also thanked anyone who may have already donated or who plans to in the future.
“I would like to thank the group for all of the hard work and effort they have put in so far, it has been a hard slog for a few months now”, he said.
“Thanks to all those who have helped out so far and to those who plan on helping out what is a great and very worthy cause”, John concluded.
The group’s huge journey begins Monday, August 6th, you can keep track of their progress via their Twitter account here. You can donate via the groups GoFundMe page here.
If you would like further information on Embrace Farm or are in need of some of their services, you can visit their site here.