Speakers 2015

Breifne Earley

BREIFNE EARLEY - In July of 2015, after 18 months on the road, Breifne completed a 18,000 mile cycle race through 25 countries. But it’s Breifne’s back story that is truly remarkable.

Thai police shakedowns, crashing in Hungary, being chased by packs of dogs in India, cycling solo 1,200km across the Nullarbor desert have all been part of Breifne’s cycle around the world experience. However the reason for that journey of 18,000 miles is truly inspiring.

In his own words...”Three year ago, I was depressed, single, unhappy in work and having regular suicidal thoughts. I decided I needed to sort my life out. Taking inspiration from the iconic date (10-10-10) I picked ten individual challenges, publicly told all my friends, and then pursued each of them over the course of the next 13 months until (11-11-11) Those challenges included losing weight, travelling, learning live skills such as swimming and cooking, overcoming fear of performing in public, changing jobs, finding a partner, completing a series of sporting events including duathlons, triathlons, open water swims, a marathon and a cycle around New Zealand.

In little over a year, I lost 4 stone, recorded an album, spent a day working in a restaurant’s kitchen, went on 50 blind dates, completed the list of sports events, was head hunted by one of Ireland’s largest companies, invited to appear on The Late Late Show, TV3, Channel 4, TV3 NZ, 2FM, Newstalk and several broadsheet papers”. In 2013 Breifne decided to set himself a new challenge. A 18,000 miles round the world cycle race.

Hear his story at this years WNAFF @ Galway event as well as in Castlebar, Sligo and Dublin.

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PAUL SHEILS - A pure soloist, in the summer of 2014, Paul hiked 500km solo through Iceland’s uninhabited and hostile interior wilderness.

He hiked for 18 days. No support team. No hiking partner - just Paul Sheils and his rather heavy backpack. Probably becoming the first Irish person to do so. The Navan man has built a reputation for soloing long distances, in particular through Northern Europe’s most extreme and least populated areas. Impressively Paul is self-taught in navigation, camp craft, bush craft and wilderness survival. “I’ve never done a mountain skills or survival course,” says Paul. “Everything I know is from reading and learning as I go. I love the wilderness, exploring really remote places.”A notable achievement given the fact Paul regularly hikes solo distances of up to 500km in hostile environments. His most recent being another solo hike 300km above the Article Circle in August through the dense taiga forests of Northern Scandinavia.

Paul has plans in the future to hike up to 1000km solo across the pristine wilderness of Lapland “Europe’s Alaska” taking in the three countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland. And while you may not of heard of Paul before he’s built up quite the following among the bushcraft community on YouTube for his popular videos.

Follow him on: Facebook

Follow him on: Youtube


Olive McGloin

OLIVE 'RAINDANCE MCGLOIN' - Meet Olive. The first women in history to hike a return journey of the Pacific Crest Trail. A total distance of 5,300 mile. Non stop!!

In 2014, Dubliner Olive McGloin walked out of her life in the UK and on to the plains and mountains of America. In doing so, Olive McGloin became the first woman in the world to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, from the borders of Mexico to Canada and back again, non-stop. A total journey of 5,300-miles. Incidentally it’s the same 2,650-mile route (one way) that Reese Witherspoon’s character walks some 1,000 miles of in the film Wild.

Sixty per cent of the trail is wilderness. It is one of the most challenging hikes in the world – and utterly seductive. Making thie remarkable feat all the more remarkable is the fact that Olive completed the return leg of the journey - 2,650 miles, on her own after her husband picked up a leg injury during a fall. For a great article on Olive amazing accomplishment read the Irish Times article A walk on the wild side: meet the first woman to YoYo the Pacific Crest Trail



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