Selfless and softly spoken leader
Profile:He had not only climbed Mount Everest but had set the world record for scaling the peaks of the highest mountains.
The softly spoken, inspirational figure spent months covering the same African slopes with hundreds of schoolchildren in a beneficent, selfless departure from the world’s most difficult peaks.
He conquered mountains and crossed continents, mastered the art of overcoming fear and, more importantly, helped others vanquish their own.
Six years ago he fixed his sights on three world-record attempts.
In 2007, he set the world record for reaching the peaks of the highest mountains on each of the planet’s seven continents and did so in just 155 days, knocking 32 days off the record.
In 2009, he was part of a team attempting to row across the Atlantic Ocean in less than 30 days, only to be stopped by a broken rudder.
Then in 2011, at age 40, he began training to become the oldest man to break the four-minute mile.
He climbed Croagh Patrick 35 times in 80 hours, wrote two books and was working on a third. He worked as a communications lecturer and PR consultant.
However his work with children and charity topped his lengthy list of achievements.
In 2008 he climbed Kilimanjaro with his godson Seán. Later he repeated the exercise, this time with a group of teenagers and adults and he went on to help run the Kilimanjaro School Project.
“It was the inner confidence that they brought back to Ireland. . . you just knew that this was an opportunity that had to be experienced by more people,” he said.
“I keep going back because every journey is different on Kilimanjaro. Every view is different, every sunset is different. The reason I go, though, is for the people. There is no glory in climbing a mountain unless you can share the experience.”