Did you know that people prefer and enjoy walking outdoors with others? More than walking outdoors on their own. True! An Irish charity is running with this and has introduced social climbing with a difference!

Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge involves three days of trekking through the beautiful Dingle Peninsula (20km per day). This will be followed by nights of craic in local lively pubs while staying in a four-star luxury hotel.


This is a chance to take part in a Kerry adventure where making new friends. And you will help raise vital funds for people with the butterfly skin disease EB (epidermolysis bullosa).

The adventure runs from May 22 – 24 and everyone from first time ramblers to seasoned hikers can take part.

Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula, a great way to get walking outdoors
Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula. Photo: www.dingle-peninsula.ie/

“It is a fantastic way to meet new people, make new friends and bring people together.” So said Susan Woodcock, Debra’s Community and Groups Manager.

“We welcome singles, couples, work colleagues, seniors and friends, it’s like being invited to a great big family wedding.”

EB (epidermolysis bullosa), also known as butterfly skin, is a rare and painful genetic condition. It causes the skin, both inside and out, to blister and wound at the slightest touch.

Helen Finnerty and Ciaran Mahony walking outdoors, making friends in Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge.
Helen Finnerty and Ciaran Mahony making friends and taking part in Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge. Photo: Willie Dillon Photography.

One walker who quickly made friends on the Kerry Challenge is Helen Finnerty from Swords, Co Dublin.

“I never forget that first morning, there was so much fun and camaraderie,” said Helen.

“The friend who came with me couldn’t continue. But I got chatting to so many different people on route it didn’t matter. And the craic that night was even better.”  

Helen didn’t even own a pair of walking boots before taking on her first Kerry Challenge. Now, she’s coming back for her fifth year and bringing four friends with her.

Eamon O’Kane walking outdoors in Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge.
Eamon O’Kane taking part in Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge.
Photo: Richard Sheehy Photography.

For Eamon O’Kane from Limerick the Debra event is a family affair. “My wife, three sons, and my sister-in-law have all taken part and we meet new people every year. Everyone walks at a different pace so you’ve great opportunities to chat along the way.”

Eamon and three friends, Joe Carrig, Pat Toomey and Mike Histon, have taken on Debra’s Kerry Mountain Challenge for 14 years. And raised over €150,000 for the charity.


The event costs €300 per person. This includes two nights’ accommodation in the four-star Dingle Skelligs Hotel, meals, snacks, transport to and from the route each day and on-site physiotherapy.

Participants are asked to raise a further €350 for the charity. Debra Ireland provides day-to-day support services for those living with EB. And it funds research programmes to find better treatments and possible cures.

“All proceeds go towards helping people living with EB. It is a great way to help while enjoying a fantastic weekend making new friends and taking in the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way,” said Susan.

To register or find out more about Debra’s Kerry Challenge, May 22-24, see www.debraireland.org or call (01) 412 6924.