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Martin Killeen, chairman Dolmen Cycling Club and John Colleran, secretary and race organiser, with the Mullane sisters; Muirne and Meabh, at front and Shauna and Aine, behind, at the launch of the Seamus Mullane Memorial Dolmen Challenge Tour which takes place on April 27ra. Photograph by John Kelly.

A wheel challenge for the late Seamus

HUNDREDS of cyclists will set off from Ennis this month for a very special fundraising event and to remember an avid member of a local cycling club, who died suddenly last year.

This year’s Dolmen Challenge Tour is being dedicated to the memory of the late Seamus Mullane, a keen cyclist and member of Dolmen Cycle Club. The father-of-four was also known to many through his work with Aer Lingus in Shannon and, more recently, the court service in Ennis.

As part of the cycle, the participants will pass the Mullane family home in Kilnaboy and will mark a minute’s remembrance at the nearby graveyard.

The cycle will take place on April 27, leaving from the Woodstock Golf and Country Club on the Shanaway Road at 10am. As well as honouring the life of the late Mr Mullane, the event will also raise money for the valuable work of Doolin Search and Rescue.

According to John Colleran of Dolmen Cycle Club, “The sudden death of Seamus was an awful blow. He was a member of the club for the past five or six years and he cycled regularly with us. We wanted to do something to remember him, so we decided to run our annual tour in his honour, with the proceeds donated to Doolin Search and Rescue.”

The Mullane family are fully behind the event, with Seamus’ wife, Bríd, originally planning to cycle the longest of the three challenge routes. However, following a recent fall from her bike, she will instead be cheering on the other participants.

“She’s gutted that she can’t do the cycle but she will be there on the day supporting all the others,” said John.

The Dolmen Challenge Tour has been run by the local club for more than a decade, with this year’s event offering three routes for participants.

The first and toughest route is the 130km Dolmen Challenge. This will bring the riders from Woodstock in Ennis up to Ballyvaughan, Blackhead and Lisdoonvarna for a foodstop at The Ritz. Then it’s on to the Cliffs of Moher, Lahinch, Miltown Malbay, over The Hand climb and returning to Ennis.

The second route, the Dolmen Burren Tour, is approximately 90km, going from Ennis to Ballyvaughan, up the famous Corkscrew, into Lisdoonvarna for a foodstop and back to Ennis via Kilfenora and Corofin.

The final route is 65km and is for those who are new to cycling. This will see cyclists travel from Ennis directly to Lisdoonvarna for a foodstop, via Corofin and Kilfenora and then straight back to Ennis.

John explained one of the reasons they decided to include a route for those new to cycling was down to the many people who knew Seamus getting involved in the activity.

“There are lots of people out cycling these days, it’s got fierce popular. There are people out there doing 40, 50 or 60km spins at a nice leisurely pace and we want to encourage those people to get involved with the cycle.

“There are people who knew Seamus, either through cycling or his work, who took it up because they wanted to do something in his honour. They’ve only been doing cycling a few months, so we wanted to have something for these people to get involved. The 65km is doable.”

Efforts are now underway to spread the word about the cycle and to get as many people as possible to come out on the day and remember Seamus, as well as raise funds for Doolin Search and Rescue.

“There are many people out there who could do the 65km who mightn’t be in any of the cycling clubs, who have just taken it up and they mightn’t be aware of what’s happening because they aren’t on the club circuit. We are trying to encourage as many people as possible to come along and get involved. It’s a great day out and it’s a great sport.”

For details see www.dolmencc.com or email dolmensec@gmail.com.

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