Friends offer support as RTÉ man documents his epic ascent
CHARLIE Bird’s epic journey up Croagh Patrick with thousands of supporters raised millions for charity, and the veteran journalist launched a book in Dublin documenting the event with the help of a few famous friends.
Last year, the RTÉ reporter announced he had motor neurone disease and has been giving the public updates since, as well as raising awareness of the progressive disease, including during the climb last April.
The national event raised almost €3m for mental health charity Pieta and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA).
Last night, Bird, along with his wife Claire and his friends Ryan Tubridy, Daniel O’Donnell, Seán O’Rourke, Anne Doyle and George Lee helped launch the book at Hodges Figgis bookstore in Dublin.
The book includes photographs from the climb, featuring many of the guest speakers, and forewords by cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan and Late Late Show host Tubridy.
Tubridy was quick to instil hope and joy to an event that could have easily slipped into sadness.
He praised Bird for his contribution to the wellbeing of so many.
“He was a man on a mission to make the world a better place, in a country that had been living in the shadows for two and a half horrid years,” Tubridy said.
“He brought us all out of the shadows together, he brought us to the top of the mountain. It was biblical.”
Country singer Daniel O’Donnell, a close friend of Bird, told the Irish Independent: “I can’t imagine what it’s like to be Charlie Bird and carry what he’s carrying, but this man, in his worst times, did the best things.
“It was like we were coming out of this darkness, and we were coming together for something good. Children will hear the story of Charlie Bird.”
Bird himself spoke at the launch through the help of a recorded voice and his wife Claire, saying that “the real inspiration are the folk all around Ireland and around who supported the ‘Climb with Charlie’ project.
“Everyone is struggling with their own mountains,” he said.
All author proceeds from the book benefit Pieta and the IMNDA.