Ain’t no mountain high enough for jet-setting UL lecturer

Shannon Airport recently welcomed inspirational mountain climbing enthusiast Andy Nolan, as he embarked on a trip of a lifetime to climb Mount Kosciuszko, mainland Australia’s tallest mountain. Andy is pictured at Shannon Airport with Niall Kearns, Airport Director.

SHANNON Airport rolled out the welcome mat for inspirational mountain climbing enthusiast Andy Nolan as he embarked on a trip of a lifetime to climb Mount Kosciuszko, mainland Australia’s tallest mountain.

Andy is attempting to become a member of an elite global club who have completed ‘The Seven Summits’, which involves successfully climbing the highest peaks in all seven continents.

Andy’s journey to Australia started from Shannon Airport and continued via London Heathrow and Hong Kong for the climb, which he is doing to raise awareness and vital funds for the Laura Lynn Hospice, a charity which provides palliative care and support for children with life-limiting conditions.

Mount Kosciuszko will be Andy’s fifth of the seven peaks, having already successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (5,895m); Mount Elbrus on the Europe and Russian border (5,642m); Mount Aconcagua in South America (6,961m); and, most recently, Mount Denali, Alaska, in May 2023 (6,194m).

Although Kosciusko is considered the easiest of the seven summits, clocking in at 2,228m, this peak will present different challenges for Andy – who broke both his right ankle and leg last June and had to learn how to walk again after several surgeries.

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After Mount Kosciuszko, Andy will set his sights on completing the final two summits, Mount Vinson in Antarctica (4,892m) and Mount Everest in Nepal (8,848m). Around 400-500 people have completed the challenge worldwide, with only 13 of these hailing from Ireland.

Originally from Charleville, County Cork, the UL lecturer is somewhat of a newbie to mountain climbing, having only taken up the sport in recent years.

Initially it was for fitness, but as he progressed through successfully summiting the first four peaks, the mental benefits and positive mindset shift far outweighed the physical merits, with Andy noting that he has always been spurred on by a desire to succeed in honour of the people served by the charities he fundraises for.

He believes that while this is a personal challenge, it is important that his expeditions can give back to the community.

“My philosophy on life the last number of years is to try and keep challenging myself in all aspects of life,” Andy says. “If you succeed, then you succeed. If you fail, then you fail, but you will learn from the positive and the negative.

“Within every challenge lies the opportunity to try and improve your own physical and mental resilience, and it is also very important to me that I can give back to my community, raising vital funds for charity during these expeditions”.

Andy’s journey can be followed on Instagram (@andy.nolann).