Pictured Above: Hugh O’Donovan on his Mindful Walk from Mizen to Malin Head.
Starting on May 30, psychologist Hugh O’Donovan begins a charity walk at Mizen Head which, in following for the most part the Beara-Briefne Way, will walk in the footsteps of Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beara (Taoiseach), Chieftain of the O’Sullivan Beara Clan. This famous march got underway in December 1602 after the Battle of Kinsale which saw the Irish and Spanish forces defeated by a crown army.
Hugh will travel through Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim. In order to reach Malin Head he will additionally follow parts of the Ulster Way and travel through Fermanagh and Donegal. In Mid-January 1603, the O’Sullivan Beara’s reached their final destination in Leitrim with just 35 souls from the original party of 1000 men, women and children – the rest having either settled along the way or died as a result of hunger, exposure or in battle.
Hugh will travel for the most part unsupported. His only plan is to walk but with some purpose each day and in so doing engage mindfully with the unfolding experience.
Mindful walking means walking with a deliberate intention, focus and attitude. It is noticing without attachment, as best we can, our unfolding experience in an open, curious way. On a mindful walk we don’t judge ourselves or others. We stand back from our reactions, and respond gently to what comes our way.
Hugh’s journey will take as long as it takes. He will carry the wherewithal (lightweight tent / sleeping bag and mat / provisions) to sustain himself as necessary, with kind sponsorship of gear from Mahers Sports, Cork and Columbia. However, he will not refuse the kindness of strangers should they wish to share their story or offer him a bed along the way wherever he stops for the day. Anyone who wishes to join Hugh along the route at any point and walk whatever distance they choose is most welcome.
This is a charity walk and any donations pledged in association with the walk should be made directly to the Irish registered charity MyMind Centre for Mental Wellbeing. Donations can be made online here.
Hugh O’Donovan is a registered psychologist (work) and performance coach. He spent twenty-three years as an army officer, serving in such areas as Lebanon and former Yugoslavia. He retired as a Commandant from the army in 1996, and went on to establish, with his wife, Kickshaws Food Bar in Leap, West Cork. Hugh is also a qualified chef and sommelier. He played rugby with Munster in the mid-80s and has been involved in sports coaching and management.
Hugh then went on to complete an Open University degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Organisational Psychology in Leicester University. As part of his practice as a coaching psychologist, he runs regular Mindful Walk and Talk workshops and events, bringing people to areas of natural beauty in West Kerry and Wicklow to engage in guided conversations to develop potential, build confidence and resilience, and improve mindful performance. He recently published the book ‘Mindful Walking: Walk your way to Mental and Physical Well- Being’. He lives in Cork with his wife Michele and his daughters Aoife and Jean.
MyMind Centre for Mental Wellbeing was founded by ex-Googler Krystian Fikert in 2006 as a not-for-profit provider of accessible mental health care. Centres in Dublin, Cork and Limerick provide multilingual counselling and psychotherapy services. Fees are based upon employment status offering the unemployed or students affordable services. Revenue generated from full fee clients is reinvested, enabling MyMind to provide services to all. Clients self-refer and appointments are within 72 hours.
MyMind provides affordable and accessible mental health services in the community. MyMind is dedicated to providing early intervention and quick access for everyone who needs support. With a team of more than 80 mental health professionals, MyMind’s confidential services are available online, face-to-face, and in many different languages.
Check out the MyMind website here.
Check out the Hugh O’Donovan & Associates (HODA) website here.
Follow Hugh’s challenge on Twitter #MindfulWalkAndTalk.