A MAN who almost lost his sight because of a rare eye condition has circumnavigated Ireland in an inflatable power boat.
Carl O'Grady (28), from Clare Island in Mayo, raised almost ?10,000 for the charity Fighting Blindness through his five-day expedition.
"I was one of the lucky ones. There are so many people out there who go completely blind so I knew I wanted to give something back," he said.
He and his two-man crew set off from Clare Island earlier this month in an inflatable power boat, which previously had been used by the British army.
At one stage, they were rocked by gale-force winds and 40-foot-high waves. The storm destroyed their radio aerial, bilge pump and some electrical wiring.
Mr O'Grady runs the Bay View Hotel on Clare Island. His father and brother operate the local ferry service. In 2003, he was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called Serpiginous choroidopathy.
He lost 90pc of central vision in his right eye. "It could have gone either way, but as it stands I have partial blindness in my right eye and my left eye is perfectly fine," he said.
Fighting Blindness said the money raised would help fund research and counselling for the 65,000 people in Ireland affected by serious eye conditions.