15th Annual Tour de Munster Charity Cycle in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland officially launched at Lismore Castle

Lismore Castle Gardens & Gallery was the stunning venue for the official launch, on Tuesday 23rd June, of the 15th Annual Tour de Munster cycle in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI).

The four day charity cycle, which was launched by cycling legend Sean Kelly, takes place from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th August, and will see 100 amateur cyclists cycle over 600km around the six counties of Munster, raising funds for the Munster branches of DSI.

The popular launch event was attended by over 300 guests, including Lord William Burlington, owner of Lismore Castle, DSI executives and DSI Munster branches and families supported by the charity, Tour sponsors, and many of the cyclists taking part this year.

MC for the evening was Michael O’Gorman, Munster Branch Co-ordinator, and Tour de Munster participant, who welcomed special guest Cllr. Damien Geoghegan, Chairperson of the Dungarvan/ Lismore District Council, representing Waterford City & County Council. Guests were treated to a dance ensemble by Jess Rowell and Brian McSweeney, who is a member of the Waterford Branch of DSI and has Down syndrome. The piece was choreographed by Libby Seward of Traces Dance Group.

Sean Kelly, who this year celebrates his 10th year doing the charity cycle, is delighted to celebrate DSI’s 6th year as beneficiary of funds raised. Speaking at the launch Sean said “Given the wonderful work that Down Syndrome Ireland does for those affected by the condition and their families, I’m very proud to once again be associated with Tour de Munster and this fantastic charity. The route which Paul Sheridan, the Tour’s organiser, has created, is enjoyable, varied and is tailored around the Tour’s participants.”

Through hard work and persistence, Paul Sheridan established Tour de Munster, with the initiative having had a life changing impact on the lives of countless people through its fundraising efforts. Since its inception, Tour de Munster has raised approximately €2 million for its beneficiaries; and for DSI alone, the Tour has raised almost €1.5 million.

At the launch, which was kindly supported by Lismore Castle Gardens & Gallery, organiser Paul Sheridan said “Now, in its 15th year, I am honestly in awe at the support we continue to receive. year in, year out, from the people in the cities, towns and villages that Tour de Munster’s route takes us through. I would like to thank everyone who has got behind the Tour to date, and it would be great to see the momentum build from this fantastic launch event organised by Sandra Willoughby, Conor Ryan and the Waterford and South Kilkenny branch of DSI. Entering into our 6th year in partnership with DSI, we are delighted to be with such a worthwhile charity. Raising both funds and awareness regarding the challenges faced by those affected with Down syndrome and their families, is essential to the ethos of Tour de Munster.”

Pat Clarke, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland, added “All of us in Down Syndrome Ireland really value that our Munster counties are the beneficiaries of the Tour de Munster for the past six years. The support and ceaseless hard work of all those involved with Tour de Munster goes such a long way towards improving the lives of all our members with Down syndrome.”

John Tuohy, CEO, Nightline Logistic Group, Tour de Munster’s main sponsor, also spoke during the event: “Nightline is honoured to be sponsoring the Tour de Munster again this year. It is great to be associated with this worthwhile cause that improves the lives of so many families in Ireland. As Nightline serves communities large and small all over Ireland, we realise the positive impact the Tour de Munster has on so many people’s lives. We wish all the participants of the Tour the best of luck, and are delighted to support this annual charity cycle.”

This year’s Tour de Munster begins in Waterford on Thursday, August 6thand continues over four days, through all the counties in Munster, finishing in Cork on Sunday, August 9th. The Irish Examiner, Clare FM, Tipp FM, Red FM and WLR FM are the Official Media Partners of Tour de Munster 2015.

For route information and the latest information and news log onto www.tourdemunster.com find it on Facebook, or follow the Tour on twitter @tourdemunster. For further information on Down Syndrome Ireland please see www.downsyndrome.ie.

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