Visiting Ireland's County High Points (the County Gribbons) has become a popular challenge for Irish hillwalkers in recent years. Here, Patrick O’Brien tells the inspirational story of his son’s 32 Counties High Point Challenge.
Dillon Lynch from Kildorrery, Co. Cork, joined me (his dad) in the challenge of climbing to the highest point in each of the 32 counties of Ireland. At the start we were just climbing local mountains, unaware that such a challenge even existed. When we learned of the challenge, we realised we had the County High Points of Munster almost complete. Beginning on 26th June 2015, our 32 County High Point Challenge would involve traveling the length and breadth of the country, and walking nearly 200km in mostly mountainous terrain.
With skills learned in a Coder Dojo Class, organised and run for free by Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services (CDYS) in Mallow, Dillon created the 32 Counties High Point Challenge website to document and keep track of his challenge. We also maintain a Facebook page for the challenge.
Returning to the challenge in Spring 2016, we decided to use the challenge to raise funds for Kildorrery Karate Club and Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services (CDYS) Mallow. Sponsorship cards were in circulation over the summer but as a second method of fundraising, the website also had an area for businesses to advertise. Each advert appeared on all pages of the website and were visible as people browsed the website. The adverts were very successful, adding greatly to the funds raised. Dillon proved himself as quite the salesman, presenting his idea and website to the potential businesses.
On 11th September 2016, at the summit of Trostan, Dillon completed his 32 Counties High Point Challenge. By doing so, he also became the youngest person to have climbed all the County High Points in Ireland.
Dillon was delighted to meet with Kieron Gribbon, the author of Ireland's County High Points: A Walking Guide (a must have book for anyone doing the County High Point challenge). Kieron took time out to meet Dillon in Belfast on the evening of the final climb. We all had a great chat for a few hours about the book and the many adventures of the challenge.
The real end of the challenge took place on Saturday 15th October with an interview on CRK FM followed by a celebration and cheque presentation in Sheahan’s Bar Kildorrery. Dillon began by thanking everyone that supported the fundraising, anyone that helped with the completion of the climbs and everybody involved in preparing for the celebration night. He then presented a cheque of €1,670 to Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services in Mallow followed by a cheque for the same amount to Kildorrery Karate Club. Dillon went on to congratulate his club colleagues of Kildorrery Karate Club on their recent success in the SKDUN World Karate Championships in Bulgaria. Members of the club displayed some of their karate moves for everyone to enjoy. A great night was had by all with great music singing and dancing provided by Dillon’s sister, Rachel Lynch and her friends, Ciara Dunne, Micheál Fogarty, Anna O’Sullivan, Éanna Hyland and with lots of amazing participation by others making the night even more spectacular.
Kieron Gribbon, as founder of High Point Ireland, awarded Dillon and I “Certificates of Completion” for having visited each of the Province Gribbons and County Gribbons. Dillon earned Silver certificates as he had a photo at every high point and I was happy to earn a Bronze cert in each case. Dillon also received a special “Certificate of Excellence” for being the youngest person to complete a full round of the County Gribbons.
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