CHALLENGE: The 54321 Challenge will this year revert back to its original format with just five participants due to current restrictions: Pictured were: Carole Moran, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Catherine Foley, Maura Sullivan, Mark Murphy, Mairead Dunphy, TJ O’Connor, Noreen Sheahan, Sean Sully, Martin McCarthy, Caroline Lynch and Tony Dunne. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

By Michelle Crean

Hit with the current restrictions, the annual popular 54321 Challenge will this year revert back to its original format with just five participants.


What began eight years ago as a challenge for the group with a team of five over four days, completing three cycles, and climbing two mountains for one cause, grew over the years to approximately 50 participants, with fund raised for local charities.

However, according to organisers this year it’s “back to simplicity in complicated times”.

“The Challenge has grown in numbers over the years, and this year was to be no different with a large number of participants ready to undertake the challenge,” TJ O’Connor said.

“However, due to the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and the corresponding lockdown, and health and safety recommendations from the HSA around large groups of people, the 54321 Challenge committee made the tough decision that all 50 participants could not complete this year’s challenge. The 54321 Challenge’s top priority is to ensure the safety of its participants and in the current climate; this extends to their families, neighbours, friends etc. Instead the decision has been made that the Challenge will revert to the original five participants undertaking the four day challenge, and this will take place from Thursday, August 20 to Sunday 23 inclusive.”

The Challenge this year includes: Day 1 (Thursday 20) – Cycle the Ring of Kerry, Day 2 (Friday 21) – Climb Carrantuohill, Day 3 (Saturday 22) – Cycle from Killarney to the foot of Mount Brandon and then climb Mt Brandon and Day 4 (Sunday 23) – Cycle from Dingle to Killarney.

“The committee are currently looking at ways other people can participate in an online version of the Challenge while representing and raising funds for their chosen charity, and they will be announcing details in the coming weeks via their website and social media.”

The Challenge has raised almost €207,000 to date supporting a number of very deserving Kerry Charities, This year’s selected charities are Skellig Stars, a group of children and adult athletes with special needs; Kerry Hospice Foundation and Enable Ireland Kerry. Each charity will have a champion undertaking the challenge on their behalf.

“We would be very grateful for any contribution to these worthwhile causes and supporting the participants of this year’s Challenge, he said.

​​​​​​​”You can donate via our website or see the individual charities Facebook pages for online donation information or donate by Direct Debit to Bank of Ireland, Killarney. Sort code 90-57-58 Account No. 74356384 (BIC BOFIIE2D and IBAN IE88BOFI90575874356384), or if you know any of the participants you can contact them directly with a donation. With your support and donations, we can support all these deserving causes.”