Human will overcomes Mother Nature as John summits

John becomes first wheelchair user to summit Croagh Patrick

There was a moment on top of Croagh Patrick last Saturday when it seemed that John Tobin wouldn’t make the summit. As John’s mother, Ann, advanced up the last few steps to the music of bagpipe player Pat Cafferkey, John was waiting about 30 minutes further back. It was windy and cold and it appeared that the stones which make up Croagh Patrick’s cone-like peak would be too much for ‘John’s Dream Machine’.

  It was then that something quite remarkable happened; the teak-tough team assisting John’s Dream Machine up the mountain appeared in the distance. The ‘bagpipe man’ started up again.

  The following five minutes provided the perfect snapshot of what it took for John Tobin to become the first wheelchair user to summit Croagh Patrick. Community spirit, cross-county relations and the unstoppable force of human will.

  Men, women and children from right across the West of Ireland and further afield braced themselves against the blistering wind and the unstable terrain and helped John to reach the summit against all odds.

  John’s outpouring of emotion and the ovation he received at the top proved just what an amazing achievement it was and how far John had come on this journey.

  I’ve never witnessed anything quite like the scenes in Co. Mayo last weekend. It’s difficult to put into words the efforts of volunteers throughout the climb. Waking up on Sunday morning with aching limbs and slight head colds, the organisers and particularly those who manned the ropes and assisted John, should feel immensely proud.

  John Tobin put a lot of things into perspective on Saturday afternoon. He was exposed to the elements but never wavered. Never has someone smiled and laughed so much climbing Croagh Patrick! This was something he desperately wanted to do and he would not take ‘no’ for an answer. If Adidas are looking for a new brand ambassador, John’s proof positive that ‘impossible is nothing’. 

John becomes first wheelchair user to summit Croagh Patrick

Last Saturday, Williamstown native, John Tobin, became the first wheelchair user to climb Croagh Patrick. John, aged 29, suffers from cerebral palsy and was helped on the climb by local volunteers, Roscommon Civil Defence and his family and friends.

  The climb started on Saturday morning and took approximately three hours to complete with a committed team of helpers using ropes to manoeuvre a specially designed, suspension wheelchair towards the summit.

  John was joined on the climb by family members, friends and supporters and arrived at the top of Croagh Patrick just before 2 pm to a rousing ovation amid emotional scenes.

  John’s mother, Ann, paid an emotional tribute to her son at the summit: “It’s just amazing to see and amazing to see his face when he landed at the top is just a dream. He’s just an amazing person and I love that he’s my son.”

  John had a very special message for the people of Mayo ahead of the All-Ireland football final this Sunday: “Up Mayo!” he shouted to big cheers from the many locals who had assisted him in his successful attempt.  John was later presented with a medal for being the first wheelchair to successfully climb ‘Ireland’s Holiest Mountain’. The fundraising event ‘Climb With John’ has so far raised over €15,000 for five local charities, including: Join Our Boys; Irish Wheelchair Association (ROC Day Centre and Cuisle Holiday Centre); Ability West, Brothers of Charity (Cherry House) and Creggs NS ‘Sunshine Class’.

  John and his team descended Croagh Patrick in a little over two hours on Saturday evening and received a hero’s welcome.