CHALLENGE: At the ceremony in Custume Barracks in Athlone to mark the end of the 32nd Gaisce Defence Forces Challenge: CEO of Gaisce Yvonne McKenna and Gaisce Bronze Award Holder Grace O’Rourke, who recently completed RTE’s ‘Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week’ make a presentation to Aislinn Burke from Killarney who was the only Kerry participant.


By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney girl was one of 30 young Gaisce participants from across Ireland who completed a gruelling Defence Forces Adventure Challenge.

Aislinn Burke, a Transition Year student in St Brigid’s Killarney, took on four days of hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, swimming and army assault courses.

The young recruits, aged between 15 and 17, were put through their paces by personnel from the 2nd Brigade Artillery Regiment of the Defence Forces, who led the Gaisce participants through a host of adventure challenges, training and team-building exercises,

Aislinn, from the Tralee Road, is a participant in Gaisce – The President’s Award, a self-development programme for young people.

She took part in 26km walks, uphill with back-packs, was deprived phone access for 23 hours a day, swam in military pools while rescuing dummies and other military activities.

“It was hard but good as I made loads of friends,” Aislinn told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The walk was the hardest, the army came in at 6am shouting to get up, it was like television, they scared us into getting up.”



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