Tuesday 25 October 2016

Trio of Irish cyclists complete 4,600km journey to Istanbul

Kieran Hanley, Sean Rowland, Cian Whooley in Istanbul
Kieran Hanley, Sean Rowland, Cian Whooley in Istanbul

THREE Irish friends have arrived in Istanbul after cycling cycled more than 4,600km from Dublin to raise funds for charity.

Cian Whooley, Sean Rowland and Kieran Hanley rolled into the Turkish city this week - nine weeks after they set off from the Spire on O'Connell Street.

"It's incredible to finally be in Istanbul," Cian said.

"It always seemed so far away and there were a few moments during the journey when we wondered if we'd make it. It was a great feeling when we reached the final destination."

Their journey through 16 countries saw them sleep on couches and in campsites.

The goodwill that the three Irish men encountered was the highlight, Cian said.

"In Serbia, one local fixed our bikes and took us to a restaurant and insisted on paying for us while we were in his town," he told the Herald. "The guy we stayed with in Salzburg took a day off work to show us around, in Orleans in France we got a full tour and ended up at a birthday party."

Their trip through Budapest saw them come face-to-face with the migrant crisis, which Cian said was "eye-opening".

The cyclists have raised some €8,000 Friends of Bantry Hospital and Special Friends, Mitchelstown.

Meanwhile, the generosity has extended to Istanbul, where the Irish community held a pub quiz to raise money for the charities.

"My two-year-old niece Rose was diagnosed at birth with a rare neuro-developmental disorder called Williams Syndrome," Sean said.

"It affects one in 10,000 people worldwide, but requires constant medical attention." Special Friends is a voluntary group run by parents in Mitchelstown.

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