A Laois is ready to embark on a great adventure, to walk for more than three months over 2,500 km from his doorstep to Spain.
Portlaoise man Eamonn Culliton began his epic backpacking pilgrim walk on Monday April 4.
He will walk as many traditional camino routes as possible to Spain’s famous Santiago de Compostela, sharing videos and social media updates along the way for people to follow his progress and make a donate to a good cause.
An aerospace engineer in Shannon, Eamonn takes a sabbatical to pursue his adventure.
This is to raise funds for cancer research by the Irish Cancer Society.
He told the Leinster Express more.
“The camino was on my to-do list and the more I read about it, the more it started to grow my legs. That’s how the caminos were traditionally done, walking from home in Santiago.
“I’m going to walk to Monasterevin and then follow the canal walk to Dublin to catch the ferry to Holyhead and then through Snowdonia National Park,” he said.
“I will take the Cambrian Way. I can use most of it towards Swansea and then take Two Moors Road south to Lynmouth.
“I hope the sailing club will help me cross the Bristol Channel to France as there is no regular ferry.
“I will walk the Saint de León to Biarritz, through Brittany, Santes and Nantes to Bordeaux to the Camino del Norte. I will cross there at sea level and it will take me to Santiago”, Eamonn said.
“It’s hard to put an exact date on it but I think it will take me around three and a half months,” he said.
While the caminos are traditionally religious pilgrimages, Eamonn is motivated for other personal reasons.
“Everyone is touched by cancer, whether it is a sibling or a parent. My sister Alice McCann died of cancer over a year ago at Christmas.
“I wanted to do something in his memory and it just got bigger and bigger. As an engineer, it got out of hand. I still like hiking in the evenings and on weekends,” Eamonn said.
The weather will get warmer as Eamonn’s journey takes him south and into summer, ending in the heat of July.
“It will be in the 30s. I don’t mind the heat. I worked in Australia and Canada, where it was actually warmer than Australia,” he said.
His family is supportive, including children Carolyn and Cormac and siblings Síle and Donn.
“Everyone wishes me good luck, everyone is behind. It’s a big company, but they know me.
“I dug up old maps, I broke new hiking boots, I go to stay in hostels and dorms. Taking care of the feet will be the most important thing, but luckily I haven’t had a blister since I started training,” he said.
His training includes carrying the heavy backpack on his daily walks to get used to it.
“I could do anything from eight to 40 km depending on the day. I walk alone, I just like being in nature away from people,” he said.
He will bring a camera and a drone so everyone can enjoy the trip without hurting their feet.
It asks people to donate through a fund on the website www.justgiving.ie, chosen because it takes no reduction from donations.
“Everything people donate goes directly to charity. I fund my trip myself, free of charge. The money is earmarked for cancer research. I’m just trying to do something I love and hope to raise money at the same time.
“The bottom line is that I want this walk to stay in people’s minds despite its length, so I hope people will continue to share the qr codes so people can see the fundraiser,” he said. -he declares. See the codes below.
He received well wishes from Robert O’Connor, director of research for the Irish Cancer Society.
“On behalf of the society and all of our cancer researchers, I just want to wish Eamonn Culliton the best as he embarks on his 2,500km walk from Portlaoise to Santiago.
“Such an incredible feat planned, we wish Eamonn the best on his epic journey, a celebration of the life of his incredible sister Alice. I hope everyone listens to him and supports him along the way.
“We are particularly delighted that all funds will go towards research to improve care and outcomes for people affected by cancer in Ireland,” said Mr O’Connor.
Follow Eamonn’s journey on his Irish Pilgrim Facebook page and find video updates on his Youtube channel The Pilgrim. Eamonn will also give updates on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram.
Find his fundraiser at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/irishpilgrim