For the fourth year in succession, the Funds generated by the Tour de Munster 600 km race in August over four days through all of its Provincial Counties, are being donated to the six Munster Branches of Down Syndrome, writes Barrie Henriques.
The Tour starts at Cork City hall on August 4, and finishes on the top of Patricks Hill You might ask what relevance that has with Kilkenny, and why it is being publicised in the Kilkenny People.
Speaking to one of the one of the organisers of the DS Prologue Tour, Callan man, Conor Roche, he told me that the funding raised on the Prologue Tour will be donated to the DSI in Counties Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford. “ We always get a tremendous reception on this end of the Tour, and while the Munster one in August is obviously a more enlarged and demanding undertaking, being over four days, our one-day event over the 160 km generates very commendable, and badly needed finances. We get over sixty cyclists on this Tour, and we get cyclists from the two Kilkenny cycling clubs, Marble City, and the Deanside Wheelers in Castlecomer. I now live in Cork with my wife Karen, and our DS daughter Emma, but being a Kilkenny man, I am immensely proud that we get such a generous response to our effort for the DSI in my own County”. Conor has enticed many of his Kilkenny friends and relatives to come on board with the cycle, and that too makes him a proud cat.
As most Parents with DS children know, the initial reaction at the news that their child is a DS baby, they quickly come to cherish and love them with all the love and care that any Parent can muster. Conor’s Emma had cataracts when born, but they were removed after some time, and contact lenses inserted. Their whole World was turned upside down. Think about what that means for an infant not weaned.
Conor told me that his Emma is now hitting all of her milestones, just a bit slower than other children. There was great joy the first time she pointed, sat up, crawled, walked. It even took her a while to smile but it was beautiful when she did and she hasn’t stopped since. She has her two brothers wrapped around her little finger. One wonders what special needs are required for DS children.
“DS kids need to be coached and taught and reminded how to do things that mainstream children pick up much quicker. Down Syndrome Ireland do not get a penny from the Government, not today, not in over 40 years of its existence. With this in mind annual events like the Tour de Munster help give much needed funds to those people affected by Down Syndrome”. The Prologue starts from the Town Hall in Clonmel on Saturday, and travels through Fethard, Killenaule, The Commons, up the Crag to Tullaroan, and then into Kilkenny City. They will be the invited guests of the Left Bank Hostelry, arriving there about 1.45pm. Leaving Kilkenny around 2.0pm, they will then journey onto Callan, Killamery, Nine-Mile-House to Grangemockler, and on to Carrick-on-Suir. The great Sean Kelly is a Patron of DSI, and he has never missed the August Munster Tour.