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Garda Ken McDonald scales new heights to raise money for terminally ill children

Ken McDonald with his 26kg rowing machine as he climbs Carrauntoohill to raise money for Share a Dream foundation.

Garda Ken McDonald scales new heights to raise money for terminally ill children

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Mary Caroline McCarthy

Almost €40,000 has been raised for the Share a Dream foundation by a member of the Garda Siochána, Ken McDonald, who over the weekend, carried a 26kg rowing machine up and down Ireland’s tallest mountain, Carrauntoohill, and rowed 10km when he reached the top of the mountain.




Ken McDonald

Ken McDonald training to climb with the 26kg rowing machine

Garda Ken McDonald, who is originally from Ashbrook Gardens on the Ennis Road, is a former international rower with eleven Irish senior national championships to his name, as well as five world championship gold medals, two world records, and four national records in rowing.

Ken McDonald is a Garda instructor in Templemore and has been moved back to frontline policing in Birr for the pandemic.

After meeting the founder of Share a dream, Shay Kinsella, who recently passed away on July 25, Garda Ken said he was determined to help the Share a Dream foundation.

The Share a Dream Foundation was established in 1989 in Limerick after Shay Kinsella, originally from Wexford, met a seven-year-old girl with leukemia whose dream was to go to Disneyland.

“Shay Kinsella founded Share a Dream & devoted his life to it until he recently passed away. I am climbing Carrauntoohill with a 26kg rowing machine to help continue Shay’s dream,” Ken said.

The original target for his “Carry up Carrauntoohill” fundraiser was set at €30,000 and Ken is absolutely thrilled to have exceeded that goal.



Share A Dream Founder Shay Kinsella at the Dreamland play centre.
Photo: Liam Burke

The fundraiser was to cover the cost of repairs to the Share a Dream ‘Dreamland’ play area which was broken into several times last year. The one of a kind fantasy playland on the Dublin Road allows for non-able bodied children to play with their able-bodied siblings and friends. Thousands of euro worth of damage was caused to the facility during these break-ins.

Over the past year, Ken has been helping to build Ireland’s first-ever children’s garda station at the foundation, where children can role-play and act out the job of a garda in a safe environment. The children’s garda station was officially opened in October 2019 by Commissioner Drew Harris and at the event, Ken presented medals and certificates to children who have battled illness for years.

“Once I got to know Share a Dream, I was blown away by their amazing work. Solely relying on the goodwill of the community, they make dreams come true for children fighting life-threatening illnesses,” Ken added. 


To donate go HERE 

For more stories on Share A Dream go HERE

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.