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Skin charity offers ‘social climbing’ in Kerry adventure

Helen Finnerty and Ciaran Mahony making friends and taking part in Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge. The three-day trek through the Dingle Peninsula May 22-24 helps raise funds for Debra Ireland. The charity supports people with the rare and incredible painful skin condition EB (epidermolysis bullosa). Photo by Willie Dillon Photography.

Skin charity offers ‘social climbing’ in Kerry adventure

An Irish charity has introduced social climbing with a difference – a chance to take part in a Kerry adventure where making new friends will help raise vital funds for people with the butterfly skin disease EB (epidermolysis bullosa).

Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge involves three days of trekking through the beautiful Dingle Peninsula (20km per day) followed by nights of craic in local lively pubs while staying in a four-star luxury hotel. The adventure runs from May 22nd – 24th and everyone from first time ramblers to seasoned hikers can take part.

“It is a fantastic way to meet new people, make new friends and bring people together,” said Susan Woodcock Debra’s Community and Groups Manager. “We welcome singles, couples, work colleagues, seniors and friends, it’s like being invited to a great big family wedding.”

Debra Ireland

Debra Ireland supports people with EB (epidermolysis bullosa), also known as butterfly skin. This rare and incredibly painful genetic condition causes the skin, both inside and out, to blister and wound at the slightest touch. One walker who quickly discovered the Kerry Challenge as a way to make new friends is Helen Finnerty from Swords.

“I never forget that first morning, there was so much fun and camaraderie,” said Helen.

“The friend who came with me couldn’t continue but I got chatting to so many different people on route it didn’t matter, and the craic that night was even better.”  

Helen who didn’t own a pair of walking boots before taking on her first Kerry Challenge is now coming back for her fifth year and bringing four friends with her.

For Eamon O’Kane from Limerick, the Debra event is a family affair.

“My wife, three sons and my sister-in-law have all taken part and we meet new people every year. Everyone walks at a different pace so you’ve great opportunities to chat along the way.”

Eamon and his friends, Limerick men Joe Carrig, Pat Toomey and Mike Histon, have taken on Debra’s Kerry Mountain Challenge for the past 14 years and raised over €150,000 for the charity.

How much does the event cost?

The event costs €300 per person, which includes two nights’ accommodation in the four-star Dingle Skelligs Hotel, all meals and snacks, transport to and from the route each day and on-site physiotherapy.

Participants are asked to raise a further €350 for the charity, which provides day to day support services for those living with EB and also funds research programmes to find better treatments and possible cures.

“All proceeds go towards helping people living with EB. It is a great way to help while enjoying a fantastic weekend making new friends and taking in the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way,” said Susan.

To register or find out more about Debra’s Kerry Challenge, May 22-24, see www.debraireland.org or call (01) 412 6924.



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