Irish Community Air Ambulance launches second Camino fundraiser



  • The association’s first overseas event in 2022 raised more than €100,000

The Irish Community Air Ambulance is about to embark on its second international event and is calling on supporters to cycle or hike the traditional Camino Frances. The trip is due to take place from April 23 to April 30, 2023. Last year’s event exceeded all targets, raising a colossal sum of €103,000.

The organization works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is responsible for dealing with serious and life-threatening emergencies. The helicopter is based in Rathcool, Co Cork with its volunteer emergency medical responders on the ground in Dublin, Mayo, Donegal and Wicklow.

Camino participants will have the choice between a 328 km cycle or a 130 km walk. Each group will be accompanied by a guide and a representative from the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

Irish Community Air Ambulance CEO Micheál Sheridan says:

The Camino is a truly special event for us and a great way to meet some of our dedicated supporters across the country. Last year we were joined on foot and by bike by several people whose lives have been touched by the service, which really added to the experience. The purpose of our organization is to bring hope to people in emergency situations. Our team of volunteer emergency medical responders is growing rapidly with four new critical care physicians joining us in the last year alone. This is thanks to the generosity of our donors and events like the Camino. The money raised will help us expand our service to more communities across the country.

Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of €2,500, which includes return flights, transfers, 7-day accommodation and breakfast and dinner each day.

Head of Community and Donor Engagement with the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Lorraine Toner says it promises to be a wonderful event:

I have hiked this route several times over the past ten years and each time I have had an unforgettable experience. I plan to join the cyclists this year for a new challenge for myself. You don’t need to have previous hiking experience, participants have plenty of time to start walking now before the trip in April. I would suggest some cycling experience before taking on this challenge. However, there is still plenty of time to start training now and racking up the miles on the bike. We will meet again on zoom soon to go over all the elements of the two trips. Cyclists and walkers will depart from the same airport but will not meet afterwards due to different distances and logistics.

The walking group starts in France at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and ends in Los Arcos. Walkers will spend a night in Pamplona, ​​the city famous for its Running of the Bulls festival. The path follows the Route de Napoléon via the Col de Roncevaux (1500m) in the Basque Country, then crosses the greater region of Navarre on gentler ground. Walkers will spend their last night in Logroño, a beautiful city in northern Spain, south of Bilbao.

The cycling group will also start in France at St-Jean-Pied-de-Port but cycle around the Pyrenees rather than up and down. The route passes through the foothills of the Pyrenees, vineyards, woods, historic towns and picturesque villages of the Basque Country in Hornillos del Camino. The cyclists will finish in Sahagun and return from Madrid.

Pat Fitzgerald from Fitzgerald’s Centra in Dingle has been on the 2022 Camino and is looking forward to the 2023 trip. He says:

It was an amazing week and a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. There was a nice mix of couples, friends and solo travellers. Everyone was supporting and encouraging each other and there were lots of laughs to be had along the way.

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has a dedicated fundraising team who will help participants achieve their fundraising goal. For more information or to register, visit https://communityairambulance.ie/camino/


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