Defibrillators up and running on Croagh Patrick from today, Darren Forde (left), a native of Hollymount, raised €8,000 through online funding and received significant donations from four businesses which enabled him to purchase and install separate defibrillators on the ridge and summit of Croagh Patrick. Pictured with James Murray from Murray’s Ambulance Service, who were one of the local businesses that supported the supported the ‘Defibrillators on Croagh Patrick’ . Photo: Conor McKeown

Defibrillators high up on Croagh Patrick thanks to Hollymount man's initiative

Solar power is making defibrillator assistance available for the first time for pilgrims and others who suffer heart attacks on Croagh Patrick.

After identifying the need for such technology, Hollymount, Co. Mayo based engineer Darren set about raising funds for the units.

In a matter of weeks, thanks to the generosity of local sponsors, he has received the €8,000 funding necessary to purchase two machines, one of which will be located roughly half way up the mountain, the other on the summit.

There is already a working defibrillator located at the base of the 2,510 foot mountain.

As he supervised the installation of the lifesaving units today (Thursday), Mr. Forde, a trained first responder spoke about the urgent need for the defibrillators on a mountain which attracts tens of thousands of climbers every year.

“There have been three cardiac events on the mountain in the past three years”, he explained. “Two victims sadly passed away”.

Earlier this year, Mr. Forde, while climbing Croagh Patrick with his family noted the lack of the life-saving defibrillators at higher altitude.

The units can deliver a dose of electric current to the heart for those who might suffer a cardiac incident.

Solar charging packs have been installed on the units so that they can remain fully charged despite the lack of electricity on the mountain’s higher reaches.

A defibrillator has today been installed on the shoulder, just before the cone of Croagh Patrick, and a second machine is in place at the chapel on the summit.

One of the sponsors, James Murray, managing director of Murray Ambulance Service, today welcomed the provision of the defibrillators and described it as “a brilliant initiative” on Mr. Forde’s part.

“These units (defibrillators) literally can make the difference between life and death”, Mr. Murray said.

Fr. Charlie McDonnell, Administrator of Westport Parish in which Croagh Patrick is located, also welcomed Mr. Forde’s initiative.

He commented: “Fair play to him. Everyone is behind him. He got all the necessary parties on board to support him.

“Hopefully the equipment will never be needed but if it is needed it will be there”.

The upcoming 2022 national pilgrimage to Knock, on the last Sunday of next month, will be the first since 2019. The 2020 and 202I events had to be cancelled due to Covid.