Speakers 2014

Mike jones

MIKE JONES - Guinness World Record holder as a member of the first crew of 6 to row an Ocean.

Corkman Mike was part of the first ever Ocean Rowing crew of six and completed a journey of 3000 miles in two months from Morrocco to Barbados in 2010. Not having enough kilometres under his belt, he also solo kayaked 1,000 miles around Ireland in 2012 in 40 days. He most recently took part in and won Line honours in the 2014 Round Ireland Yacht Race on board Monster Project a 70 foot Volvo Ocean Race Yacht.Complete adventurer, Mike doesn’t limit himself to the water and practises various outdoor sports from snowboarding to rock climbing and many others.

At the age of 18, he successfully summited Mont Blanc and his passion for adventure has taken him all over Europe and the world (Nepal, Norway, Switzerland, France, Corsica, Scotland, Africa) by kayak, crampon and by sail. Mike never strays too far from adventure as he is an active Irish Coastguard volunteer and full time Outdoor Instructor he is always out and about introducing new people to the joys of the great outdoors or rescuing those in need.

Follow him on:


Mike jones

CLAIRE RIORDAN - filmmaker for the North of Disko expedition

Claire joins the North of Disko crew as lead filmmaker and aims to document the whole expedition from start to finish. She originally studied zoology at NUIG and spent a number of years working as a marine biologist both in Ireland and abroad before completing her Masters in Science Communication in 2002. During the past ten years she has worked as a communications and marketing consultant in New Zealand, Africa and Australia, writing and presenting information on topics ranging from climate change to pesticides in food, to the public and affected communities. She has recently returned to Ireland after studying Documentary Film Making at the MET Film School in London. Since then, she has been developing documentary ideas from her experiences, producing promotional short films for sporting events and working with Killary Adventure Co. in the West of Ireland on their marketing campaigns. The expedition documentary 'North of Disko' will be aimed at a national broadcast audience.


Mike jones

SHANE YOUNG - member of the North of Disko expedition

Shane brings many skills to the North of Disko expedition including sailing, kayaking and a little bit of everything else (apart from cooking). He sails regularly in Clew Bay aboard a 30ft racing yacht and has spent a childhood crewing for Jamie aboard various other yachts. Last year he took it upon himself to join Geo in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe marathon, which they finished in a respectable time of 22 hrs 40 minutes. Shane headed off to New Zealand at 18 before returning to attend University in Dublin. Following this, he moved to Argentina where he played rugby for Cardinal Newman, one of the top teams in the country. While in Argentina he travelled and explored from the Northern steppes to Southern Patagonia. Shane is an avid racer and has competed in a number of different events from 3 day adventure races to 2 day mountain marathons. Over the years he has travelled from Argentina to New Zealand and has recently returned from a hiking expedition in the Caucasus. He is constantly looking for the next challenge and has always dreamed about going to the North Pole. This is halfway to completing his dream.


Mike jones

LEON MCCARRON - Into The Empty Quarter expedition

Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer and cameraman. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and specialises in long distance, human-powered expeditions. In May 2012 he concluded a 6-month, 3000 miles expedition walking the length of China, from the Gobi desert in Mongolia to South China Sea in Hong Kong. National Geographic produced a 4-part TV series of the journey. At the end of 2012 Leon crossed 1000 miles of the Empty Quarter desert, pulling a cart loaded with supplies, roughly following the route of British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who criss-crossed the desert in the 1940’s by camels. This story is retraced in the film Into the Empty Quarter, Why Not? Adventure Film Festival, 2014 official selection. Other journeys include 14,000 miles solo and unsupported on a bicycle from New York to Hong Kong, a folding bike trip around the British Isles to climb the Six Peaks, and a human-powered descent of the longest river in Iran, the Karun.

Find more about Leon on


Mike jones

MAGHNUS COLLINS - Ventured into some of the most remote locations on Earth

Spending 16 days in total wilderness and paddling three quarters of the notorious yangtze river are amongst Maghnus Collins most vivid memories of 2013. The limerick man along with his friend and fellow adventurer David Burnes crossed the heart of Asia (and the Himalayas ) on their ‘Silk road to Shanghai’ trip covering 14,000km by bike, raft and foot. This was just the latest adventure for Maghnus having already (again with David) cycled through Africa and completed the Sahara desert race. The boys expeditions have been part of their ‘Sand2Snow Adventures’ project which aims to raise money for Self Help Africa which has been working with rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa for thirty years. They have raised 100,000 euro so far through their hard work and I am sure they will go on bring help to those who need it most.

Check out their adventures on


Mike jones

FERGAL SMITH - One of Europe's hardest charging surfers

Widely recognized as one of Europe’s hardest charging surfers, Fergal is part of a small, tight-knit crew that put the west coast of Ireland on the world surfing map. After taming legendary waves back home including Aileens and Rileys, Fergal has been busy traveling the world in search of big wave perfection. Westport native Fergal Smith is also famous for his ‘Growing Series’ videos where he shares his passion for surfing and his tips on organic vegetable gardening since he grew up on an organic farm outside Westport. He now lives in County Clare.

Follow him on


Mike jones

MIKE O SEA - climbing and treking expedition leader

Mike O’Shea, an expert Alpine mountaineer from Kerry, has intensively climbed in the Alps and took part in several international expeditions including Mt Aconcagua ascent and a 3 'Cups of Tea' K2 attempt in 1993. Mike has trekked 800km across Lake Baikal in Northern Russia (only completed a handful of times), the North Patagonian Icecap and the Kilimanjaro Icecap as part of The Ice Project, a project wich aims is to traverse all the 10 major Ice Caps in the World, culminating with a crossing of South Georgia on the centenary of one of Ireland’s greatest polar moments - when the 3 Irish men of the 1914 expedition to the South Pole spent 16 days crossing the ocean to reach South Georgia from Elephant island (Ernest Shackleton (Kildare),Tom Crean(Kerry), Tim McCarthy (Cork)) after their boat sank. Mike also lead Irish groups up Kilimanjaro and a trek to the base of Everest but Mike hasn’t reserved his enthusiasm for just climbing and mountaineering! He was also one of the first people to paramotor across the Irish Sea. He is also a keen skier, and has recently moved on to SpeedFlying to further add to the adventure. Mike won the Outsider Magazine Trailblazer of the Year Award and he's one of the first people in Ireland to gain the Gold Gaisce Presidents Award. He is involved in various causes and community projects, including volunteering for Kerry Mountain Rescue for 10 years.

Mike O’Shea’s expeditions

The Ice Project:


Music Player

headphonesClick on the headphones to the right to open our music player. That way you can continue to listen to music as you browse the website