A Welsh woman who spent over four months walking around the entire coast of Ireland for charity, was given a heroine's welcome when she arrived back in Rosslare Harbour before returning home.
Karen Penny successfully completed the Irish leg of a 19,000 mile walk circumventing the coast of Ireland and Britain in aid of Alzheimer's Research, a journey expected to take three and a half years. Her fundraising target is £100,000 Stg.
Karen who appeared on the Ray Darcy show on RTE radio 1 and South East Radio, set out from her home in Wales on January 14, travelling to Fishguard and arriving in Rosslare Harbour on February 2.
Her plan was to cover as much ground as possible every day, depending on local geography. More than four months later, she arrived back in Rosslare Harbour, having been joined by members of Rosslare Harbour Ramblers Group at Tagoat and was feted at a reception in Clifford House where Margaret Clifford was the host at both ends of her journey.
She raised £35,000 on the Irish trek.
On her journey from place to place, she walked alone in all weathers
without a supporting team or any back-up. She was delighted to meet local people who became aware of her exploits through the radio or social media.
At the end of each day, she pitched her tent wherever she could. As time passed and she became better known, Irish people took her to their hearts and offers of refreshments and accommodation flooded in.
In the time she spent in Ireland, she had to pitch her tent no more than 15 times, mostly in Northern Ireland where she wasn't so well known.
She threw herself into every Park run, local festival and music event along the way. She even climbed Croagh Patrick on her day off!.
Karen has first hand knowledge of Alzheimer's disease having watched her husband's parents suffer from the debilitating disease in recent years.
Approximately 38,000 in Ireland are currently affected by Alzheimer's and related dementia, a figure that is expected to rise to 58,000 by 2021 and 104,00 by 2036 as a result of the ageing population.