A Dublin Institute of Technology student is set to take off hitchhiking across Ireland, with nothing more than the clothes on his back, a bag and a microwave, for mental health.
Diarmuid McCleary is hitchhiking across Ireland in aid of Jigsaw, the mental health charity that works with young people.
As events officer for DIT’s Student Union, he said Jigsaw are a charity that was chosen by the stu-dent population as the beneficiary charity from the union’s fundraising efforts.
Speaking to Dublin Gazette, McCleary said: “They’re a relatively new and small charity, but the work they’re doing is so worthwhile.
“They’re keeping the discussion on mental health going, and I hope I can raise enough for them.”
The inspiration came to him last year, but he ‘chickened out’ until having a sudden stroke of de-termination after attending a music festival last Summer.
He said: “I went to a music festival in the middle of Nevada where people were doing all these mad things, and it made me so determined to come home and do something similar.
“I had read a book about a guy who went on a trek carrying a fridge and talked to a few friends about doing the same with a microwave.
“I chickened out but have finally picked up the courage to head out and do it, all while raising money for charity.”
Setting off on April 6, McCleary is hoping to make it around the country with his microwave through hitchhiking alone in two weeks, relying on lifts from people across Ireland. He’s also planning to busk in towns across the country to raise additional funds for Jigsaw.
“I’ve actually managed to turn the microwave into a Bluetooth speaker. I’ll set it up in the middle of towns in places like Roscommon or Leitrim where I don’t know anybody, and just start busking to raise some more money and hopefully get talking to people about getting a lift,” he said.
Already, with little to no promotion, he has already raised nearly €200 through the power of Face-book sharing and generous friends but he still wants to raise “as much as possible” for Jigsaw.
“My friends told me they wanted to donate, so I set up the link a little bit earlier. I initially was go-ing to launch it on Friday, but I already had so much interest through people sharing my Facebook page.
“Some companies have contacted me asking to sponsor me, and people across Ireland have of-fered me their couch to sleep on – providing I can get there!” McCleary said.