IN HIS ELEMENT The late Ian McKeever was very much at home on the slopes of Croagh Patrick. Friends will remember him fondly at a special Mass on February 2. He is pictured here at the foot of Croagh Patrick in 2011. Pic:Conor McKeown.
Memorial Croagh Patrick climb to be held for Ian McKeever
Friends of adventurer and mountaineer Ian McKeever have organised a memorial climb of Croagh Patrick to allow people to remember and celebrate his life. The climb is scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 2, at 11am. A memorial Mass will be said for Ian in the oratory at the summit.
Wicklow resident Ian McKeever died tragically when he was struck by lightning as he climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at the start of January. He was well known in Mayo for climbing Croagh Patrick and set one of his many records on the mountain when he climbed the Reek a record 35 times in 80 hours during the Croagh Patrick Seven Day Challenge for Autism in March 2011.
Ian’s body arrived back in Ireland on Friday and his funeral Mass took place in Roundwood, Co Wicklow on Saturday. Matt Loughrey who is organising the memorial climb, told The Mayo News that a number of people in Mayo were unable to attend his funeral and this is an opportunity for them to pay their respects.
“A hell of a lot of people around here knew Ian or knew him indirectly through climbing Croagh Patrick and they would have liked to have gone to his funeral but couldn’t afford to go. This is something which will be accessible for people and will be a fitting event to remember Ian by and allow people to pay their respects. The climb will start at 11am and we should be on the summit by 1pm and Fr John Kenny has agreed to say Mass,” he said.
Matt climbed Croagh Patrick once a day for 365 days. Ian’s Seven Day Challenge took place during that year, and the two met and became friends. Matt said that Ian inspired so many people in the region during his challenge.
“He loved Croagh Patrick and while people were inspired by him, he was also inspired by the people around him. He loved to see the inspiration in other people’s faces. It was a huge deal to him to have people climb with him.
“We climbed Croagh Patrick at the same time, and afterwards I got to know him better. He was a great person to talk to over a pint and would talk about everything, not just climbing. When you were in Ian’s company in a social sense you would not know he did what he did. He was a really humble guy and that was one of his qualities.
“I was talking to him just three weeks before he died and he was in flying form. He will be really missed,” he said.
For more information you can access the Facebook page Croagh Patrick 365.