DUSK TILL DAWN: Some of the members of the Killarney Young Farmers Group who took part in the Winter Solstice charity event. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan


By Sean Moriarty


On the longest night of the year Killarney Young Farmers Discussion Group raised a staggering €8,000 for the Kerry Hospice Foundation by pushing a milk-cart over 343 laps of An Riocht Athletic Track.

The group of 15 farmers, from mid-Kerry, took turns at steering the milk-cart around the track.

After drawing lots for start times, group member Paudie O’Brien started at 4.30pm on Sunday evening.

By 8.45am on Monday the group had completed 343 laps of the track and a total of 137.05kms or 3.26 marathons.

John Fleming of Muckross Creamery did his stint ‘behind the wheel’ between 4.40am and 6am on Monday morning.

He explained to the Killarney Advertiser the idea behind the plan.

“We wanted to do something to mark the end of the year, but a Christmas party was out. It was first suggested to walk all night on the longest night of the year, but that idea soon grew into the idea of pushing the milk cart,” John, who is the group secretary, said. “We drew lots for time slots, it was agreed that we would turn up 20 minutes before our time to encourage the previous participant, and we were all on track for one hour and 20 minutes each. The Riocht track was ideal, it was safe, well-lit and away from everybody.”

The Killarney Young Farmers Discussion Group was formed as both a business and social group to help and support farmers in the area. As well as group meeting, which were curtailed this year, the group also organises industry site visits and social events. This year they expanded that to include charity events.

The 15 farmers who participated in the challenge were: James Paul Mangan, Dan Daly, Edward Sullivan, EoghanMcCarthy, John Fleming, John McCarthy, Mike Quirke, Niall Browne, Paddy Sheehan, Paudie O’Brien, Seamus Foley, Sean Joy, Shane Carroll, Tim Fitzgerald, and Colm Counihan.

Search Killarney Young Farmers on GoFundMe.com to make a donation.