“The experience and the journey along the Wild Atlantic Way from Mizen to Malin was absolutely amazing.”
They are the thoughts of 26-year-old Buncrana woman Brínan Doherty who recently completed an 800km cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head along with her life-long friend Saoirse Pottie.
Cycling 120km per day for over seven and half days, while staying in hostels and air bnbs along the route, saw the two friends cross the finish line last week.
Doherty told Donegal Daily: “Our route involved going along the Wild Atlantic Way, which most people normally don’t do because most people take more of a direct route when going from Mizen to Malin.
“But we decided to take more of a coastal route and it was really hard but I wouldn’t change it now that I have completed it.
“The first couple of days was up through the Cork and Kerry mountains which were really tough because they were proper climbs, but the views were incredible.
“It took us around seven and a half days to totally complete our cycle, which, as I explained before, isn’t usually how long it takes, but we decided to it that way and at around 120km per day before staying overnight and getting back at it the following morning.
“Then from Galway to Donegal, we got absolutely hammered with wind and rain,” she laughed. “That wasn’t nice at the time because you know as soon as you get on the bike and start to cycle that you are going to be soaked and then you have to continue in those conditions for the rest of the day.
“But the people around the country were very generous and kind, with people in shops and shopping centres getting us donations.
“And along with the views of the Wild Atlantic Way made it an incredible experience.
Doherty, who now lives and works in Dublin as an accountant, took on the challenge on behalf of Donegal Hospice in memory of her late grandmother Tassie Doherty, who received crucial care there in 2018.
“My granny passed away in the hospice on July 30, last year after being in there for only ten days and the support that my family received was absolutely unbelievable.
“My granny got the best care and she really got the support that she needed at that time, it was amazing and they were just so good.
“That is why I wanted to provide that for someone else that comes in behind us because it is a charity that is close to my heart.”
And after raising over €4,500 between them, Doherty recommended the experience and said she wouldn’t be put off cycling following the gruelling journey.
“When we got to Malin Head, we took the scenic route which left us with about a final 100 metres up Banba’s Crown and I didn’t think we were going to make it but we got there in the end and we were delighted with our achievement.
“I would do it again, I’m not sure I would do it for charity, but all in it was a brilliant experience and I just want to thank everybody that supported me and Saoirse with their donations.”