Aoibhin Garrihy 'delighted' husband John Burke is back 'safe' and sound after Mount Everest climb
Aoibhín Garrihy has spoken of her delight at having her husband John Burke return "safe and sound" becoming the first Clare man to reach the top of Mount Everest.
The 38-year-old hotelier reached the mountain’s summit last Tuesday, just days before three other mountaineers lost their lives on the treacherous peaks.
As he touched back down on Irish soil at Shannon Airport, Ms Garrihy said she was “so delighted that he is back safe and sound.”
“You need a lot of things to go your way to get to the top of Everest and there was clearly someone up there looking after him.”
Mr Burke paid homage to his Co Clare roots by planting the county flag on the mountain’s summit and was greeted in Shannon by a crowd of over 200 supporters, many of whom were wearing Clare jerseys.
The mountaineer followed a strict regime in the run-up to his Everest feat and told reporters that he once scaled Carrantuohill, Ireland’s highest peak, eight times in one day.
As well as fulfilling a long-held dream, Mr Burke said he hoped to inspire young people to reach their goals. The couple are founders of the charity Elevate, which promotes mental wellbeing in young people.
Mr Burke said he hoped to have proved that there is “something for everyone” to work towards.
He said: “Growing up I didn’t achieve in GAA like others did and GAA was the only real thing back then for us in West Clare. But I have proved in doing this that here’s something for everyone.
“Young people, in particular, really need to believe in that because right now they are probably more challenged than ever. Research has shown that one in five young Irish adults between the ages of 19 and 24 and one in six young people between 11 and 13 have mental health issues.”
The couple established the charity following a family tragedy related to mental illness and will launch wellbeing workshops in Clare secondary schools in September.
Mr Burke said: “We’re not going to change the world with it but it’s our contribution and climbing Everest has given us a platform to raise awareness in Clare about this issue.”
In true Irish style, Mr Burke said he was most excited to eat bacon and cabbage for dinner that evening and spend the next few days with his family.