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'We've been climbing these mountains for 20 years - now it's our career'

Relocating to Co. Kerry to start up their own business wasn't a difficult decision for one couple, who made the move at the height of the recession.

Piaras and Catherine Kelly were already volunteers with Kerry Mountain Rescue and spent a lot of time with the team either on rescue missions or training sessions.

Starting their own business, Kerry Climbing, made sense to the couple who decided to turn their pastime and voluntary activities into a business idea.

"I went from being the furthest away member of the team in Ballycotton, Co Cork, to being the one living closest to the Macgillycuddy Reeks in Beaufort," said Piaras, who set up Kerry Climbing four years ago.

"It all came to a crunch when the belly went in the construction industry as I was working as a carpenter, and it went from being something that was in the back of my mind to something I threw myself at," he said.

"At first I was running the business from Cork and driving up and down but two years ago we decided it was time to move and we haven't looked back."

When he started his venture providing guided walks, mountain climbing, moonlight walks, rock climbing courses and winter skills courses, he expected most of the clientele would be foreigners. The opposite was the case.

"Up to 80pc of our clients are Irish and 80pc of them are in their 30s and 40s, so it's totally different from what we envisaged," he said.

Their daughter Orla (5) attends Beaufort National School and they've become part of the community.

"It was definitely worth our while. I've been walking and climbing down here for 20 years so I've seen the growth in interest in it. Outdoors in general is flying," he added.

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