Charlie Bird pays tribute to mother who died climbing Galtymore for charity

Cora O’Grady took ill with her family while doing the fundraiser for Motor Neuron Disease

Charlie Bird has expressed his condolences to the family and friends of Cora O'Grady who died as she was climbing the Galtymore in support of his fundraising event.

Cora O'Grady (51) from Luí na Gréine, Ballinwillin in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, was climbing with her children, Luke (11) and Lily (8), when she took ill on the mountain.

The Galtymore summit was one of almost 200 fundraising climbing events nationwide to support former RTÉ broadcaster Charlie Bird who was climbing Croagh Patrick in Mayo.

On Monday morning Mr Bird tweeted: "I want to offer my condolences this morning to the family and friends of Cora O Grady from Mitchelstown in County Cork.


“Cora who was climbing in the Galty mountains took ill and passed away. Her family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers.”

Mr Bird, who has motor neurone disease, was climbing Croagh Patrick with hundreds of supporters to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and suicide charity Pieta House.

Tens of thousands of supporters participating in climbs in Ireland as well as in the United States, South Africa and Spain have so far raised more than €2 million for the two charities.

By lunchtime on Monday the figure was €2,034,279 and Mr Bird hopes it will reach €2.5 million.

‘Terrible tragedy’

It is understood Ms O'Grady was near the summit of 918 metre-high Galtymore at about 1pm when she collapsed and the alarm was raised. The Irish Community Air Ambulance from Cork attended the scene.

Ms O'Grady was treated by paramedics but failed to regain consciousness and she was pronounced dead at the scene at about 2pm. Gardaí from Cahir were notified of the tragedy.

Ms O'Grady's body was removed from the mountain and taken to University Hospital Waterford where a postmortem was scheduled to take place to establish the cause of death.

A Garda spokesman described the death as "a terrible tragedy" and said gardaí will include the postmortem results in a file they will prepare for an inquest at South Tipperary Coroner's Court.

Ms O’Grady’s two young children were on Saturday night being comforted by relatives in Mitchelstown where news of her sudden death was greeted with shock and sadness.

The Mitchelstown Ballygiblin Juvenile Club tweeted: “We all in Mitchelstown Ballygiblin Juvenile Club would like to extend our deepest sympathy to our u11 footballer Luke, his sister Lily and their extended family at the tragic loss of their mother Cora. May she rest in peace.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times