Five tackle the first ever Lough Gur Summer Solstice challenge

  • Lough Gur Summer Solstice Challenge (Pic Keith Wiseman)
Lough Gur Summer Solstice Challenge with the Red Cross and Ben Healy. (Pic: Keith Wiseman)

As the sun rises on the longest day of the year on June 21st, the team of five will be building momentum as most of the county and country sleep. Departing from the lakefront at Lough Gur, cyclists will gather at 5.30am to complete the Lough Gur Summer Solstice Challenge.

For five individuals, they will complete a 30km route around the area, complete a 2 hour kayaking session on the lake, followed by a three hour trek around Lough Gur, all in aid of raising funds for the Irish Red Cross. Their departure time is expertly calculated to mark the longest day of the year. Others will gather across the water at the Great Grange Stone Circle for sunrise on that morning. As Ireland’s oldest and largest stone circle, positioned amongst 2,000 ancient monuments scattered around Lough Gur, they have traditionally gathered at this point for over 5,500 years to watch the sun rise between the megalithic stones leading into what has been referred to as a giant cathedral like structure.

On this day however the Summer Solstice Sunrise cyclists have no time to dwell. The day is long but there is much to do to complete the Summer Solstice Challenge that was launched by Munster Rugby player, Ben Healy. On the day of the challenge on June 21st, cyclists will speed at pace along the winding narrow country roads surrounding Lough Gur with rolling hills on either side before finally returning to their original destination at the lakefront of Lough Gur. With a quick turnaround time and top up at the Lough Gur Lakeshore Park Kiosk, the group will rocket back up the steep hills of Lough Gur and return safely home before returning to take on another two challenges to make the most of the longest day of the year and to raise much needed funds for the Irish Red Cross. The charity was chosen to support the exceptional work that they have done to help alleviate suffering in Ukraine and the tireless humanitarian work that they continue to do across the world. The triple challenge taken on this summer solstice day by the team of five is being completed in recognition of the heroic work carried out by the Irish Red Cross.

To begin the second phase of the challenge, Team Lough Gur will take to the water on kayaks for a 2 hour session. Emotionally charged and ready for more the challengers will complete the third and final part of the challenge, a three-hour trek with over 120 Lough Gur Summer Solstice trail blazers to round off what will no doubt feel like an incredibly long but rewarding day. When the challenge was launched, Ben Healy commented “Taking on this challenge shows resilience and commitment from the people working and living in Lough Gur in their efforts to raise funds for the Irish Red Cross. Lough Gur is an ideal location in Limerick to complete this challenge” addingI wish the challengers every success on the day and ask people to support them in their efforts in whatever way they can."

The team of five Summer Solstice Challengers includes Manager for Lough Gur Kate Harrold, Lough Gur Development members Trevor Daly and Brian Collopy, adventurer Brian Flynn and Iron Man competitor Anthony Kirby. Speaking at the launch on the day Kate Harrold commented, The Summer Solstice Challenge was a way for us to bring this part of Limerick together, united in our efforts to help raise funds for the Irish Red Cross. We also wanted to promote health and fitness and the importance of making the most of our great outdoors in Limerick. The challenge won’t be easy but as the saying goes, anything worth doing is going to be difficult.”

To support the Lough Gur Summer Solstice Challenge, go to

Individuals are welcome to sign up for the Summer Solstice Sunrise Cycle, Solstice Kayaking and Long Walk for a Long Day by going to

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk