My name is Eugene O’Leary and I give motivational talks including a slide show, based on my various charity fundraising adventures listed below. I have given motivational talks to groups like Howth Active Retirement Group, Ozanam House Active Retirement Group, Dublin Fingal Rotary Club and Dublin North Rotary Club and I have been asked back on several occasions by each group. In Co. Cork, I have given a motivational talk to the children in Whitegate National School.
The purpose of my talks is to encourage everybody to stay active throughout their lives, so that they can enjoy life and go on adventures like the ones that I take part in at the age of 77 and hopefully until I depart for The Happy Hunting Ground. Most ailments in old age result from inactivity.
A bit about my fundraising adventures!
Firstly a bit of information about myself. I became a 77 years old “teenager” on 9th. January 2020. I come originally from Whitegate, Co. Cork, but I have lived here in Howth, Co. Dublin for the past 46 years. My ambition now, is to do a long hike above the Arctic Circle and to do it as an online fundraiser for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.
My serious fundraising history commenced after the death of our late daughter Helen who died at the age of 19. Helen had been born with a congenital heart defect. She had been given a mechanical heart valve in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital at the age of 5 and went on to be a high achiever; Head Prefect and Pupil of the Year (shared) in her Leaving Cert. year in San Sabina Sutton. She was also my greatest fan and supporter.
After Helen died, I started fundraising for Crumlin Children’s Hospital and have successfully raised in the region of €100,000 for them, mainly through taking part in their annual overseas 500K cycling events i.e. 100K a day for 5 days.
I have taken part in these cycles in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa; around Lake Balaton, Hungary; Riccione, Italy; Monterey, California; Flagstaff, Arizona; Athens, Georgia and Niagara, Ontario.
I have also done solo cycles for the same cause. I cycled from Faro to Evora in Portugal and then across Spain to Pamplona before cycling over the Pyrenees and as far as Bergerac in France. I then cycled the Camino de Santiago from Logroño to Santiago. On 21st. June of the following year, I cycled from Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland to Haparanda, Sweden and then down the coast of Finland to Pori, before crossing to Helsinki.
Over the past couple of years I have become involved in fundraising for the Chernobyl Children’s Trust, through the chairman Simon Walsh who is a friend of my family and after cycling in Belarus and staying in Chervyen Orphanage; I raised enough money (€5,000+) to pay for a new roof on their shower, washroom and laundry building, which had been destroyed in a fire, caused by faulty electric wiring. I raised the money by doing a buggy push across Ireland, from Slyne Head, Galway to Howth Head, Dublin and then doing a buggy push from Whitehall, Dublin to Whitegate, Cork and Sean Doran organised an event (including a dinner for 60 people) for me in the Oarhouse on the West Pier, Howth which raised almost another €5,000.
During the past year and a half I did several local buggy pushes e.g. Drogheda to Howth. I hiked the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago and I also hiked the Camino Finisterre from Santiago to Muxia and on to Cape Finisterre, on four occasions. During one of my hikes on the Camino Finisterre, I carried a second Pilgrim Passport in our late daughter Helen’s name and got it stamped all along the way. When I got to Muxia, I handed it in at the pilgrim office and collected her Muxiana and on reaching Finisterre I collected her Fisterrana which are certificates to say that she accompanied me all along the way.
I also celebrated my 75th. birthday on 9th. January 2018 by doing another fundraising buggy push for Howth RNLI. On that occasion , I pushed a baby’s buggy from one church to the next, on the Howth Peninsula accompanied by a group of supporters and stopping at each of the 5 churches along the way to give a short talk on each church’s history. The title for walk was “The Howth Peninsula Steeplechase”.
Accounts and photos of some of my overseas fundraising cycles can be viewed here:
My Facebook page is at: