Early days

Starting a new club is never easy. Starting the first youth climbing club in Cork took a special mixture of perseverance and commitment. A small dedicated group of Cork climbers led by Damien O'Sullivan took on the challenge and established the Cork Youth Climbing Club. Damien and his team worked up training and coaching plans for the growing numbers of kids joining the club and worked closely with Mountaineering Ireland, Mardyke Arena, Cork Sports Partnership and others to build up the necessary infrastructure to support the venture.

Damien used his contacts in the climbing world at home and abroad to bring world class climbers to Cork. In December 2010, Damien invited one of the world's top climbers, Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, to the Mardyke where he gave a climbing masterclass to the kids. Sean, born in Cork and living in Belgium was part of a team that won the Piolet d'Or for their adventure in Greenland.

The Piolet d'Or website summarizes the climb as:

This was a new route on a very remote 2,500 metre face, undertaken with meticulous preparation. The climbers travelled over a wide area to find routes for acclimatisation, and only embarked on the route after careful planning to avoid objective danger. The ascent epitomises climbing in modern alpine style, travelling at speed on unknown terrain for a route one and a half times the height of the Eiger North Face. The pair completed the long connecting ridge to the East summit.

Some quotes from Sean's interview on the Patagonia site that should inspire all climbers:
What is your relation to nature/ to the mountains?
To climb a rock, you need to become the rock!

What is your advice for young people?
Don’t forget that climbing is a privilege which we are lucky to enjoy. So enjoy it and respect the rock.

What is your motto in life?
Follow your dreams.
We look forward to following Sean on his climbing exploits and hope to catch up with him when he returns to Cork.