Across the Emerald Isle in 3 Days

Paramotorist makes history as the first to complete the cross-country flying feat

What better way to end your day than with a nice sunset and an 88-pound motor strapped to your back? (Ruaraidh Gillies /Flickr)
Photo: Ruaraidh Gillies /Flickr

Over the Cliffs of Moher and through McGillicuddy's Reeks to the history books he goes. Adventurer and polar explorer Mike O'Shea is now the first person to paramotor from one end of Ireland to the other. "Paramotoring is just using a parachute-style device, like a paraglider—so it's a fabric wing—with a motor on my back," explained O'Shea in a BBC video. "The motor weighs about 40 kilos. It's a flying contraption, for want of a better word."

The 590-kilometer, or 366-mile, journey began at Mizen Head, Ireland's southernmost point, and ended at Malin Head, the country's northern tip. It took O'Shea three days to complete the trip, which can be achieved by car in about 8.5 hours. Flying at heights of up to 10,000 feet and in subzero temperatures, O'Shea used mobile technology to monitor his health with a smart watch and GPS to navigate the expedition. A camera attached to O'Shea recorded the entirety of the trek. Vodafone Ireland sponsored the flight as a launch for a global initiative encouraging people to do something remarkable for the first time, according to the Irish Examiner.

O'Shea has completed previous expeditions with Lifeproof's Ice Project, crossing Lake Baikal in Russia and the ice caps of Patagonia and Kilimanjaro, as well as making two attempts to reach the North Pole. "I've achieved many things in my life, but this certainly ranks up there with the best of them," he told the Irish Examiner. "And the great thing is that I can also share it with anyone who wants to watch."

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