A Donegal man has conquered the summit of Europe’s highest sea cliffs in his wheelchair.
Paul Dawson, 55, launched his Slippe Liege climb earlier this year because he wanted to “move mountains” for people with disabilities.
He’s also raising money to buy a 4×4 off-road powered wheelchair to get to the beautiful Blue Flag beach on his doorstep in Narin.
Paul reached the summit of Sliabh Liag this weekend with the help of a personal team of local helpers and guides.
They were helped by a group of 16 young Ukrainians who had spent the past six months in Kiribati.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry… It’s a relief to be here and know what we just did. The views are amazing and that’s something I will always remember. It was a great team effort and I’m so proud of everyone.”
“We discovered when we first planned this trip that no one in a wheelchair had ever made it to the top of Slyabeh Liege and yet we are here. We have the pictures and they are all back to you guys. Well done,” he said.
“It’s amazing what a guy in a wheelchair can do with the help of all of you guys. I don’t get emotional often but it’s amazing. An amazing thing. Great team effort. Even Ukraine and Ireland.”
As Paul and his friends climbed a mountain on Saturday afternoon, he admitted they now need to move some more mountains to get what’s needed in terms of accessibility.
“Don’t exclude anyone just because they are in a wheelchair, see what they can do when they get the right help and support as we’ve outlined here today,” he said.
Mr Dawson, who lives in Naryn with his wife Julie, is a retired fire service health and safety officer and has worked in Northern Ireland, Wales and England.
He went to school in Glentis and came back here to live three years ago after retiring early from the fire service. Paul has MS and uses the chair all the time now.
Earlier this year, he led a campaign that led to Narin becoming the first beach in Europe to have a fully equipped rolling toilet.
“Although I have a crane at home, this new facility makes a huge difference to people inside and out who come to Donegal on vacation,” he said.
Purchasing this 4×4 powered off road wheelchair will be the first again for any beach in Ireland.
“It is part of our ongoing effort as a community to develop the area as a fully accessible vacation destination. This chair will be free to use for anyone who needs beach access due to limited mobility.
“We firmly believe that this is a fundamental human right to be able to have full independent access to as many public areas as possible, and supporting this goal will make this dream come true for many,” he said.
The local community hosts a series of fundraising events to help reach their goal.
Any donation received, big or small, will be greatly appreciated and will make a big difference.
The epic quest of Donegal’s man sees him defeat Crusaders Liege in a wheelchair Last update: September 18 2022 by