THEY are following a route taken by pilgrims for centuries, but they will complete their epic voyage on the open sea in a currach – the traditional fishing canoe.
The four-man crew set off from St James's Gate in Dublin on board the Naomh Gobnait on the first leg of the challenge where they will sail down the east coast of Ireland, past Wales to the southwestern coast of England.
From there it's on to Brittany before eventually heading to Spain to join the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
They face upwards of 15 hours a day of non-stop rowing, sometimes on rough seas, to complete the first stage of the feat they plan to complete piecemeal over three years.
This year's effort still involves rowing as far as Brittany before June 30, when the four are due to return to their native west Kerry. Danny Sheehy, who built the naomhog, or currach, with artist Liam Holden, says all four are well used to the sea. They are joined by box player Breandan O Beaglaoich, and fisherman, stone mason and philosopher Breandan O Muircheartaigh. "We're doing it for ourselves, just as a challenge we set for ourselves," Mr Sheehy told the Irish Independent.
"We've done several sea journeys before but this will be the longest. We're bringing a tent each and doing all our own cooking, so our costs will be very little."
This morning they're making their way down the east coast to Wexford – but winds and tides are favourable for this leg of the journey where they expect to row for over 15 hours.