Persistent Howth pensioner walks over 250kms for children’s hospital

by Rose Barrett
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BY Rose Barrett

At 78, Howth pensioner Eugene O’Leary can certainly be described as fit, having completed a 250km walk earlier this week, in aid of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

He could also be described as persistent, stubborn even in the face of unsurmountable obstacles, i.e. the weather!

“I decided to do my walk from the Custom House in Cussen Quay, Sligo to the Custom House in Dublin,” said Eugene.

“I walked to Colooney, then to Boyle in Roscommon and on to Cloondara in Longford. I walked along the National Famine route where the Royal Canal meets the Shannon.

Pushing his buggy carrying his camping gear – he manages his trips on a shoestring budget –  Eugene got as far as Roscommon, but the weather was so bad, a couple there kindly put him up, and he rested for two nights before heading to Boyle where he took the train home to Howth, to recharge the batteries.

“I returned last Monday week to Boyle and walked almost to Strokestown where another kind couple gave me a night’s accommodation. I walked 29 miles the first day, 27 the next, and 25 miles on each of the following two days.

“From Mullingar, I walked to Enfield where I’d hoped to get a train home to Howth as the weather predictions weren’t good and my back was giving out. I had overdone it so I needed to rest and recharge again.”

Even then, Eugene was forced to walk to Maynooth to get a train, and then the dart to make it home!

Determined to complete his Custom House Sligo to Dublin walk, Eugene returned to Maynooth on Tuesday last where he completed the final stage, bringing his total to over 250kms over eight days walking!

On Wednesday, he walked from the Custom House to the East Pier in Howth.

“Eugene’s buggy which transports his camping gear during the long fundraiser

The dad-of-nine is a former lighthouse keeper, and is renowned for his incredible fundraising achievements having raised over €100,000 for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital which cared for his late daughter Helen (who died aged 19 from heart problems).

Sadly, he and wife Claire had an infant daughter Claire die aged three months and Sharon at 24 from cancer.  Through walking, cycling, and buggy pushing, the Howth pensioner has raised vital funding for  many local and national charities, and crossed several continents during his efforts.

In January last, a 1,000k walk raised €7,500 by walking a 10k daily round trip from Baldoyle church to Howth church, while adhering to the Covid guidelines! In November, he hopes to finally do a walking tour of Terceira, located around 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal.

The Sligo to Dublin walk has already raised over €1,000 for the intrepid pensioner to date – donations welcome at  

Click on link to read more in this weeks Digital Edition

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