My name is Steven Wilkinson. I am an Englishman, living in Dublin, but have spent almost all of my adult life living in or close to Munich in Bavaria in Germany. I am 52 years old and an irrepressible entrepreneur and venture capitalist. I moved to Dublin with my family (my beautiful wife Britta, four great children, three mad dogs and a pony) in February of this year. I love trail-walking and writing and combined both activities last year with my walk along Offa’s Dyke in early January of last year. I loved those two weeks so much and was so pleased with the encouragement I received from those friends who followed my blog, that I promised myself then, that I would make at least one long-distance walk a regular feature of my year.
My this years adventure is a Charity Walk in search of changemakers across Ireland. Beginning on April 16th, to raise money for my chosen non profit Ashoka Ireland, I will walk over 530 kilometres, beginning at Waterville, on the westernmost point of the Kerry peninsula, finishing up in Temple Bar in Dublin city. My chosen route will take me through the Kerry Way, the Duhallow and Avondhu Way, through East Munster and South Leinster, before embarking on my final stretch through the Wicklow Way.
Where I am able, I will be taking Stella, my seven year old Irish (Red) Setter with me. Stella is an erstwhile inmate of the Starnberg Animal Shelter, where she was unceremoniously deposited, seriously overweight, over two years ago by a woman, whose parting words to the shelter manager were “If you don’t take her, I will kill myself!”. Irish Setters are born to run – they are the Nikes of the animal kingdom – and I can’t even begin to imagine how horrible life must have been for both her and the family, who were evidently unable to give the exercise she needs. She must have driven them nuts. I started taking her along with me in May 2013, when I went out on my mountain bike and within weeks she had lost 20 pounds in weight and was running 20-25km cross country at an average speed of around 19 kmh. Within months, we were out 3-4 times a week and clocking up somehwere between 100 and 120 kms in total. Stella can manage 40kms easily (if the weather is cold and wet) and probably covers a quarter to third more ground per trip than I record on my Garmin. She is a fabulous dog and a great companion.
Britta and I have been avid supporters of the Ashoka organisation since the German chapter was founded by Konstanze Frischen in 2003. Ashoka’s mission is “To advance an Everyone a Changemaker world, where anyone can apply the skills of changemaking to solve complex social problems.” We are dedicating this years walk to the Ashoka Ireland organisation and hope to raise at least €100.000 on our 2015 Walk across Ireland with their support. We are delighted and grateful to have been welcomed so warmly by Serena Mizzoni and her team on our arrival in Dublin and are thankful for their enthusiasm and support for the Walk project.
Other organisations in my life:
- Inc. Small Giants Community: An organisation for companies that chose to be great instead of big! The Inc. Small Giants Community is a global membership organization focused on the promotion, implementation and advancement of running a successful values-driven business
- Sacred Constantian Military Order of St. George / Order of Francis I: a catholic order whose activities are centred around interfaith missions and the promotion of peace and understanding between all the peoples of the earth, whatever their religious affiliation
- Travellers Club, London: The original concept of The Travellers Club by Lord Castlereagh and others dates from the return of peace in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars. They envisaged a club where gentlemen who travelled abroad might meet and offer hospitality to distinguished foreign visitors. Arrangements for the establishment of The Travellers Club were finalised at a meeting in the spring of 1819, attended by distinguished diplomats, travellers and two future Prime Ministers (the Earl of Aberdeen and Viscount Palmerston). The head of Ulysses was adopted as the Club device
I have been in touch with Mike Thornton from Coolefield House in Millstreet and he suggested I contact you. In June/July 2016 my sister and I are walking the O’Sullivan March from Leitrim to Castletownbeare, 500klms over 5 weeks. This is our first long walk but a little personal as we are O’Sullivans. Before we leave Australia we have promised to raise $5000 for Cancer Queensland and already half way there. Nothing like your large amount you are raising. We have lost 2 brothers to Cancer.
We plan to spend a couple of nights at each end of our trip in Dublin. I know it is 12 months away but as we both work for the Education Department we have to apply for leave next month and the reason we are so organised at present. We have the dates and days organised and currently working on the accommodation as I am not sleeping rough – past that.
Please keep in touch as I would be interested in your travels.
Jennifer Rooks (Australia)
Dear Jennifer, I am so sorry not to have responded to your note to me on this site. I can’t apologise enough: my only (miserable) excuse, is that I didn’t visit the site after I finished my trail hike last year and am only now reconnecting, as I get ready for this year’s hike along the Francis Trail in Italy next week. I hope I am not too late.
Please do get in touch when you arrive – we would love to see you and extend our hospitality to you when you are in the Dublin area. Any friend of Mike and Pam’s is automatically guaranteed a queens reception in our home. Very best wishes Steven
Thanks for the reply. 6 weeks until we leave for Dublin, it seems to have come around very quickly, we have walked so many klms in training and our feet have finally got the message that they will be walking 500klms over 5 weeks. I cannot remember when I last left a message but my sister is now coming with me and a mix up in dates and emails and we will not be staying with Mike. He has offered a cuppa on our way through and we may take him up on it.
We arrive in Dublin on 22/6 and move onto Leitrim on 24/6, we have a bed booking at the Best Western off O’Connell Street, On our return we will be staying with an O’Sullivan rellie in Dublin before we fly out on 26/7/16.
Perhaps we could meet up for a night meal in Dublin before we go to Leitrim? If this is possible please leave a message at the reception at the hotel and a contact number. My contact email while away will be email@example.com
Have a lovely walk in Italy, I am really jealous.
I think I said I was walking for cancer, you may like to have a look at the site, we have increased the original amount promised, it has been an interesting 12 months.