Sunday 24 June 2018

'I’m looking to stay with a random family tonight' - Irish student hitch hiking around Ireland with a microwave

Diarmuid McCleary, who is fundraising for Jigsaw, by hitch hiking around Ireland.
Diarmuid McCleary, who is fundraising for Jigsaw, by hitch hiking around Ireland.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish student who is hitch hiking around Ireland with a microwave is aiming to raise €10,000 for a mental health charity.

Diarmuid McCleary, who is fundraising for Jigsaw - The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, has passed through eight of Ireland’s 32 counties so far, and is currently in Belfast.

“Yesterday the microwave explored Donegal getting lifts to various towns and went surfing in Dunfanaghy beach with Narosa Life,” he told his Facebook followers today.

“We explored the coast fell down a hill then got a lift to Derry/Belfast with Patrick Gallagher Coach.”

Tonight, McLeary plans to hitch hike from Down to Armagh and Monaghan tonight, and hopes to stay in Monaghan with a willing host tonight.

“I’m looking to stay with a random family in Monaghan tonight that I don’t know, if anyone is free?” he said.

“Today will probably be the most difficult day yet as there has been no media coverage in Belfast and I don’t know the city and its roads. We also have a headache, the poor kitchen appliance. Last night I got some of the funniest looks yet but the legends at Europa Hotel gave me a bed in their hotel and breakfast!” he added.

McCleary's journey began last Friday April 6 from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, “with empty pockets and only a microwave for company”.

"Why not a microwave?" Diarmuid, who is vice president for events at DIT student union, said.

"Honestly, I thought it would be a good way to generate awareness about my hitchhike. I chose a kitchen appliance as inspiration from a book by a guy named Tony Hawke. Back in 1999 he hitch-hiked around Ireland with a fridge and my trip is inspired by that.”

For more information, see Diarmuid’s fundraising page, The Microwave Express, where people can donate to Jigsaw – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

Jigsaw’s 13 hubs across the country provide young people, aged 12-25, with a place they can visit for free and confidential support from trained mental health professionals. Their early intervention model helps young people before they reach the point of acquiring a formal mental health diagnosis.

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