“Originally, Croghan Hill started as an event course for horses, which I thought would have great potential, combining hills, slopes, obstacles and an all-weather course with a great view. In fact, it was tremendously successful for me personally, as within 3 years of sitting on a horse for the first time, I was competing and winning in the RDS, Punchestown and various other events. I was surprised that it did not attract more. Maybe because it was bordering on the extreme. In 2010, our local GAA club, St. Brigid’s, were planning a fundraiser for the following year, 2011. We decided to look at the possibility of using the event course as a fun obstacle course. We carried out a few trial runs on a number of Sunday mornings, and found to my surprise that the local footballers bought into the idea and loved it. I then decided to enhance the course by adding obstacles which had given great enjoyment to my family when they were younger, such as the Carrickree Rope Bridge and the Cu Chi Tunnels. I decided to make the most of what I had – hills, slopes, obstacles and scenery, and make it one of Ireland’s best obstacle courses. It has outstanding views of the surrounding countryside in the midlands, including the Bog of Allen and it’s on the remains of an extinct volcano! When I was developing the course I thought of what kids would want and what would really get communities engaged. I was influenced by what entertained my own children when they were younger in the great outdoors, and added army-inspired elements. Over 20,000 people have done the Croghan Hill Challenge to date. People have come from the Garda Training College, hen dos, stag dos, corporate engagement days, you name it! Ireland’s Fittest Family trained here too. A lot of people think it would be a male dominated environment but we get mostly women here, I’d say 73%.
It’s a non-profit-making facility. Any money we get goes back into keeping it up, maintaining and improving it.
I chose CMRF Crumlin to be the benefactors of the Croghan4Crumlin fundraiser because my neighbour’s grandchild was rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital when he was very young and I realised the absolute necessity of the fundraising money from CMRF and the difference it can make, not only to a sick child in their darkest hour, but also to their extended family. That year we aimed to raise €5,000, but we got everyone we could involved and actually we ended up raising €20,000! Now Keith Gantly is one of our leaders in the fundraising. He’s a garda from Roscrea and his little one was also sick when they were younger too – it’s crazy how every single community in Ireland is effected by CMRF in one way or another, maybe without them even knowing.
The best part of fundraising is the journey and the funds going to a worthy cause – sick children. Usually it’s people who have had sick children themselves that are the backbone of fundraising. Going out and selling the event is the hardest. You need a target and you don’t reach it by sitting behind a desk! You have to get the local community involved. Croghan has a long history of organising charity events. The volunteers are amazing. Every year we have about 30 volunteers I’d say. They show up, they’re dedicated, experienced and generous with their time. They’re fed after everyone else is, they come last, they put everyone else first. Always. They’re amazing.
This year, we’ve had great supporters and sponsors come on board like Kia motors, Lawton and Foley, Lily O’Brien, Gleniske, The Bridge House and Supermac’s. People give their time and efforts constantly. The tourist section of Offaly County Council have always looked out for us and have given us a stand at the Ploughing Championships. I am overwhelmed by my community and I’m so proud of it. This year we’re aiming to raise €20,000 with the Croghan4Crumlin.”
Peter Moore, Rhode, Co. Offaly, Feb 2018.