NINE young people from Ossory Youth have completed the challenge of a life time by reaching the summit of Ben Nevis - the highest peak in the UK - measuring a staggering 4,413 feet.
Organisers said this “resilient and determined” group of young people have been preparing for the climb for the past nine months.
Part of their preparation involved an ascent of Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil (3,405 feet) in May of this year.
The “Mountain of Heaven” however would prove a much more challenging proposition altogether; with the ascent taking five hours before being able to set eyes on the ruins of the old observatory at the summit.
Starting out in Kilkenny on the Monday morning of July 17, the group embarked on a journey to Fort William in Scotland, a small and vibrant town just a few miles from Ben Nevis.
With the help of local guide Jack McCreadie, the group began the ascent early the next day on Tuesday morning and returned to the bus eight hours later.
A well-earned rest day was taken on the Wednesday before embarking on the long journey back to Kilkenny on the Thursday, arriving at Desart Hall late and “exhausted”, according to youth worker Paul Bolger.
Sophie Slattery, one of the young participants on the climb, described the experience as “tough but memorable” whilst Ciara Anderson reflected on the experience as being “wonderful but challenging and an opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime”.
The project was supported by local gardaí and in particular Garda Kieran Scanlon.
Organisers say it would also not have been possible also without the support of parents and the commitment of the young people involved.
The young people who made the climb included: Ciara Anderson; Padraig McGlone; Eva West; Terry O'Reilly; Paddy O'Reilly; Mick Power; Sophie Slattery; Aisling McDonald and Liam Woodgate.
The youth workers were: Paul Bolger; Kevin O'Driscoll, Martina Maher and Garda Kieran Scanlon.
Ossory Youth is a voluntary, non-profit youth work organisation working with and for young people within the Diocese of Ossory, covering Kilkenny and parts of Laois and Offaly.