Kerry embraces Tour de Munster with great gusto
Enda O'Brien and wife Jill are stalwarts of Down Syndrome Kerry, and in a piece in last week's edition of The Kerryman, they called on the people of the county to embrace the Tour de Munster cycle, a vital fundraiser for Down Syndrome Ireland and its Munster branches.
And, with the four-day event coming to an end last Sunday in Cork city, it would seem their call paid off handsomely if Enda's reaction is anything to go by.
"We had collectors in Kenmare, where Saturday's event came to an end, and our collectors filled bucket after bucket. It was the same in many other places along the route in Kerry.
"So, we were astounded at the reaction and generosity to our bucket collections, but it wasn't just that. It was the people out cheering all the way along. We can't thank people enough. We are delighted with how Kerry got behind it.
"The weather held up, too. There was some mist all right on Saturday, but even at that there were people on the Conor Pass in Dingle, for example, out providing sustenance to the cyclists,"
The participants were equally impressed, enjoying an afternoon's entertainment in Manor West at the end of the second day - but that wasn't all. A wide range of businesses including Manor West Hotel, the Rose Hotel, and Mace stores supported them along their route, while a stop in Deenach Lodge, Killarney, on day three proved particularly popular.
"Deenach Lodge is a big thing always, because the cyclists get to see for themselves what they'd been cycling so hard for," Enda said.
"There are 40 young adults that help out at Deenach Lodge, and one of them, Jessica Power, read out a script on behalf of the 40. We also had Kevin Griffin and Paul Sheridan, a driving force behind the cycle, to address them.
"On the Friday night in the Rose Hotel, where many of the cyclists were staying, they got to watch footage from the Unsung Hero Cycle, a precursor to the Tour de Munster, and former Kerry footballer Daniel Bohane was there to give them a few words of encouragement."
All that was left to say was to re-emphasise how much Down Syndrome Kerry depends on fund-raising for its many services. To donate, or to find out more about the group, visit www.downsyndromekerry.ie.