Wednesday, 16 February 2011 21:03
Published in Awards & Appearances

Pat Falvey features on RTE1 'This Sporting Life' tomorrow night at 7pm.

The second series of This Sporting Life tells the story of six of Ireland's most eminent sportsmen. It looks at their greatest achievements in sport but also chronicles the all too human stories behind some of Ireland's great sporting headlines. The six talk candidly about their successes and failures in arenas where so much is expected by their fans and the public in general. In telling their own story, each profile gets to the heart of the subject.

This years series has already featured Ken Doherty, Michael Carruth, Éamonn Coghlan, Tony Ward & Seán Boylan. Further details can be found here.

Producer Niall Mathews visited Pat at the Mountain Lodge in Kerry a few months back to get inside the mountain man to see what makes him tick. He also liaised with Niall Foley for fine tuning details and coordinating Pat's archive material for the production.

For those without RTE1 or abroad, the show will feature on RTE Player in a few weeks.


Tuesday, 01 February 2011 11:56
Published in Current Projects

After a year in the making, Helen Shaw and here team at Athena Media handed over their latest film series to Setanta Sports Ireland in December 2010. This three part series, which was funded by the BAI, was shot over the last 15 months here in Kerry, Cork and Dublin. Helen weaves a compelling story of Pat's personal endeavour and sacrifice through the years from childhood to the present day, with contributions from his family, friends and mountaineering colleagues. The story is full of archive footage from Pats many exciting expeditions & features amazing photos from the Pat Falvey collection.

Speaking to Pat via Satelite phone about the project, he had this to say:

'Its been an amazing journey for me personally making this documentary and also my team for filming and preparing the archive footage from my earlier life, sifting through the tens of thousands of images which I have in my collection. Even just talking to some of my old colleagues and friends has bought back so many memories to the forefront of my mind. I would like to take this oppurtunity to thank those involved including all contributors, my family, my friends and my own team in helping me on this film. A very special thanks has to go to Helen Shaw and her team who have created a great biography documentary, well done, its been a fantastic journey working with Athena Media. Even though I am in a very remote location in Canada at present, we have arranged a location to see Setanta on Sunday. Its funny as already many locals here want to see it also!!'

You can see more trailers on

Press release from Athena media:
3 x 24min – documentary series is an Athena Media production for Setanta Sports funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision funding scheme. The series is due to air on 6th February 2011. It will begin with episode one on 6th February, followed by episode two on 7th February and episode three on 8th February. All episodes will be broadcasted at 10pm on Setanta Sports.

‘Some people say I’m a self publicist, some people say that I can be very arrogant, immediately I think of something, I say it. I’m going to climb Mount Everest, I’m going to become a millionaire. I’m going to be the best motivational speaker in the world. People think, how can he actually say that?. There’s no harm in dreaming and dreaming big,’ Pat Falvey.

Pat Falvey’s life story is the stuff of fiction. The teenage boy who left school at fifteen determined to be a millionaire and built a multi-million property business by his twenties. The serial entrepreneur who lost everything by twenty-nine and nearly took his own life in despair. But a chance encounter took him hill-walking and his first venture to Kerry’s Carrauntoohil made him vow to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. By thirty-four he stood on Everest and soon became one of Ireland’s most celebrated, and controversial adventurers. He has been to Everest four times, reached the summit from both its north and south face and is the only man in the world to have climbed the highest peaks in every continent twice. He has trekked to the South Pole and now planned one last great adventure, this time to the North Pole.

This documentary and biographical series takes us into the psychology of Pat Falvey and finds out what drives him to follow dreams bigger and bolder than anyone else. Production Company, Athena Media, with producer/director Helen Shaw, filmed Pat across a year and interviewed those close to him throughout his life, both in Cork City where he was born and reared and in Beaufort, Co Kerry where he now lives and works at the foothills of McGillycuddy Reeks.

Pat’s journey starts in north Cork where he was born the eldest son of Tim and Abina Falvey. His father Tim was a bricklayer and Pat followed his father’s trade but says his maternal grandmother, Mary B. O’Callaghan, a street trader, was a central influence on shaping him and his life. His grandmother encouraged him to think big and had him running little businesses when he was still a small boy. Her sense of confidence and will-power is what fuelled him to be a millionaire. His property business was worth in excess of €70 million in today’s value but the recession in the mid 1980s hit him hard and his empire began to crumble. By 29 he was broke, bankrupt and he even thought of killing himself. His own marriage suffered. But when a friend took him to the mountains he began to see life anew and mountains became his obsession. It was an obsession which eventually brought him to Mount Everest and to the honour of being the second Irishman to stand on the summit.

This series tracks Pat Falvey’s life and tells his story. We hear from friends like Con Moriarty and Mick Murphy who have known Pat from the early days in Co Kerry when he joined Kerry Mountain Rescue to mountaineers like Dawson Stelfox, the Belfast architect who became the first Irishman to summit Everest in May 1993. We hear from his family from his sisters Majella and Abina and his brother Barry Falvey. His son, Patrick Falvey, shares insights along with those who have journeyed with Falvey through many expeditions including Dr Clare O’Leary. Clare went to Mount Everest with Pat in 2003 and 2004 and her successful summit in 2004 made her the first Irishwoman to climb Everest and since then she has trekked with Pat to the South Pole and now joins him on what he describes as his last great adventure – the North Pole. Pat’s ambition has been to journey to the highest and most extremes points on earth, from Everest to the South and North Pole and this final expedition, in Spring 2011, will complete what he calls the ‘three Poles’.

Pat Falvey: My Private Everest is a series which promises dramatic footage as well as unique revelations including how Pat Falvey’s determination to bring the tricolour to the summit of Everest provoked debate and even animosity with some accusing him of detracting from Dawson Stelfox’s own summit. Pat’s philosophy ‘that everyone has their own private Everest’ has brought him into motivational leadership and mentoring and he now makes a living from motivational speaking both in Ireland and abroad. Contact Athena Media -01 4885851 for more details including press photographs or stills from the documentary series.

Athena Media would like to thank everyone who helped us and supported us during the production particularly the Falvey family, Niall Foley and all the crew who have worked on it in Athena Media particularly Anita Walsh, Paula Cunniffe and Niall Brew. Our cameraman Barry MacNeill has been with us throughout the shoot and we have had excellent support from Lotus Media in post production. John E. Turner did the offline edit while Scott Smith was online and Simon Flanagan did the audio mix. A special thank you to Ella McSweeney who did the voice-over on the series and to the wonderful folk in Seneca, the band who produced instrumental tracks for the documentary mix and who have been great supporters of the project.

Further Information:


Wednesday, 29 September 2010 13:35

RTÉ's Nationwide celebrates local hero Ger McDonnell in a special programme.

Next Monday night (October 4th) at 7.00pm, RTÉ One television will broadcast a special half hour Nationwide programme about the life, achievements and legacy of Kilcornan man, Ger McDonnell - the only Irish person to successfully summit K2 - the holy grail of mountaineers worldwide. Ger raised the Irish flag aloft on top of K2 on August 1st 2008, but tragically, he lost his life on the descent the very next day, heroically attempting to save the lives of three other climbers.

This special Nationwide programme includes never-before-seen footage shot by Ger himself on that final expedition. Local journalist Marian Malone talks to Ger's family and friends, fellow climbers, including the Dutch leader of the 2008 Norit expedition team and Paul Whiting of Mountain Rescue Ireland, who nominated Ger for the posthumously awarded Targa d’Argento Pinzolo Gold Medal - one of a raft of humanitarian awards he has received for bravery. The Targa d’Argento honours those who risk their lives for others in the mountains.

On August 2nd after being on the summit and bivouacking overnight above 8,000 meters (the so-called death zone), Ger found the descent rope anchor to be dislodged or broken. This caused two Koreans and a Sherpa climber to be suspended upside down on ropes below. Ger spent over three hours with an Italian, Marco Confortola, trying to assist. Eventually, Marco was forced to descend as he could do no more; he described the climbers to be like ‘puppets on a string’.

Marco witnessed Ger climbing back up to release the tension on the ropes. Unbelievably, after over another three hours, Ger managed to free the trapped climbers. They were met by two Sherpas who came up to assist their descent. An ice tower or serac gave way above and tragically swept Ger to his death. A second subsequent avalanche hit and claimed the lives of the other five climbers.

Mountain Rescue Ireland nominated Ger because on numerous occasions his concern and actions for fellow climbers embodied the spirit of mountain rescue and outstanding humanitarianism. Last Saturday night, Ger's mother was presented on his behalf with the Meteor Mid-West Media Merit Award at the Press Ball in Limerick.

Prior to making the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man, Ger’s last dispatch on his website ended prophetically: “Let luck and good fortune prevail, fingers crossed.
Sin é anois a cháirde, tá an t-am ag teacht." Ger was 37 years old.

Produced by Pallaskenry-based local television company, Matt Kelly Productions, the Nationwide special airs next Monday night at 7pm on RTÉ One television.


Wednesday, 29 September 2010 13:12
Published in General

Great Endeavour - Ireland's Antarctic Explorers by Michael Smith, author of An Unsung Hero - Tom Crean. It deals with 200 years of Irish exploration to the Antarctic, starting with Bransfield and Crozier in the 19th century, onto Crean, Shackleton, Keohane, etc in the 20th and then onto the modern day travellers such as Pat Falvey, Clare O'Leary and Mike Barry. Details on the publishers website -

Michael Smith is delivering an illustrated talk on Great Endeavour at Killarney Library on Tuesday October 12 (7.15pm) and Cork Central Library on Wednesday, October 13 (7.30pm). Michael is also scheduled to give lectures for Mountaineering Ireland in Dublin and Cork on November 18 and 19 respectively, venues to be decided. For details, check with Mountaineering Ireland website,


Children's Book Festival
• Tuesday 5 October: Tipperary: Templemore Library 10 a.m., Thurles Library 1 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.
• Wednesday 6 October: Tipperary: Roscrea Library 10.30 a.m., Nenagh 1.30 p.m.
• Thursday 7 October: Waterford Library
• Friday 8 October: Waterford Library

Other talks:
• Saturday 9 October: South Pole Inn, Annascaul, Co Kerry, at 9 p.m.
• Monday 11 October, morning: Scoil Phadraig Naofa, Bandon, Co Cork.The teacher there, Mary Murphy, was involved in translating Tom Crean – Ice Man into Irish and is retiring (and she played Orla Fitzgerald's mother opposite Cillian Murphy in The Wind That Shakes the Barley).
• Monday 11 October, evening: D'Arcy's Restaurant, Kenmare, Co Kerry, at 8.00 p.m.
• Tuesday 12 October: Killarney Library 7.15 p.m.
• Wednesday 13 October: Cork City Library 7.30 p.m. Michael will also be in the library in the morning with the Children's Library, as part of the Children's Book Festival.
• Wednesday 10, Thursday 11 & Friday 12 November: Nenagh, Tipperary. This is part of a literacy promotion project based around Tom Crean – Ice Man.
• Tuesday 16 November: New Ross, Co Wexford. This is part of a literacy promotion project based around Tom Crean – Ice Man.
• Tuesday 16 November: Cloyne Literary & Historical Society, Ballymaloe House, Cork, 8.00 p.m.
• Wednesday 17 November: Lawlor's Hotel, Bridge Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, at 8.00 p.m., in association with Waterford Museum
• Thursday 18 November, in association with Mountaineering Ireland: Basecamp Outdoor and Travel Store, 108 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
• Friday 19 November, in association with Mountaineering Ireland: Cork (venue to be confirmed

Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:34
Published in Blog

Celebrities and international media gathered at Ballinacurra House, Kinsale, where Mark and Denise Duffield-Thomas from the UK and Australia, were chosen the Top couple for the Ultimate Job in Ireland - and probably the world! After a weekend of challenges and beating stiff competition.

Mark and Denise Duffield-Thomas have landed the Ultimate dream job: €20,000 and 6 months of luxury travel around the globe for Irish wedding and honeymoon company Runaway Bride and

The Top 10 candidates came from Australia, US, Canada, South Africa,Brazil, UK, Galway, Wexford, Sligo, Dublin and Cork to enjoy a full Kinsale dining and leisure experience at some of Kinsale's top class restaurants, clubs and venues, such as Blue Haven, Hamlets Bar, White Lady Nightclub, Trident Hotel and Carlton Hotel.

Organised by Run Away Brideand, the Ultimate Job in Ireland - and probably the world! received 30,000 applications from over 90 countries and global media attention since launching on 19th February.

Denise and Mark will immediately start preparing for their first trip after the announcement and will fly out at the end of May to Zanzibar, Mauritius and private escorted safari in Kenya - a week in each
destination - just for starters.

"We have had the most amazing weekend in Kinsale and we hope to make you all proud as ambassadors for Ireland around the globe in the next six months," they said.


Sunday, 07 March 2010 20:24
Published in North Pole 2010

The Irish North Pole Team 2010 are currently awaiting a pickup to evacuate all three team members back to Resolute following John Dowd developing some visible signs of frostbite on two fingers tips. The team had been on standby yesterday March 6th, assessing the situation in their tent and a decision was made following signs of deterioration that a evacuation would be needed as the team could not risk continuing.

Expedition Leader Pat Falvey spoke to operations manager Niall Foley on Saturday afternoon Irish time, providing him with their status. Pat said: "After 5 days in -40C conditions, we have been pulling and hauling sleds over very rough terrain and exposure is a real danger out here. Of course we are feeling somewhat disappointed having to abort on rescue at this early stage, but these extreme conditions have taken their toll on John and his injury is not going to improve", "Our rescue plane is on the way and it may get a chance to land close to our position, failing that we have to trek back to Ward Hunt which may take to 2-3 days to allow safe landing area for Troy the pilot" he continued " We are in good hands with the rescue going according to plan. Weather conditions are stable at present with a plane attempting their first extraction Sunday evening. Clare and I are fine and John is in good spirit apart from some pain and should be in a position to haul his sled back to Ward hunt if required."

We will update further on the teams status early on Monday 8th March.


Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:15
Published in North Pole 2010

Irish adventurers Pat Falvey, Dr. Clare O’Leary and John Dowd have early this morning Canada time (Tuesday 2 March 2010) departed from Resolute to complete a historical and icy voyage as they navigate, walk, ski, and swim for two months on a 784 km expedition of endurance. Man-hauling their sleds across the rugged, broken, melting Arctic Ocean from Canada, they plan to be the first Irish team to reach the North Pole without the aid of dogs or any mechanical means.

Having spent the past 22 days training in YellowKnife and Resolute on the North West Passage in Canada, the Irish team are now on there way to the start of their Journey at Ward Hunt for their 60 day trek to the North Pole.

“We are very concerned at the ice condition at the moment having had satellite images showing the thin ice and large open leads. The team are confident but we won't underestimate the conditions,” says Pat Falvey, “through cold down to -50 degrees Celsius.”

Following several postponed flight over the last week in both Yellowknife and Resolute, the team are now boarded and flying north with gear weighing hundreds of kilo's packed into their chartered Twin Otter aircraft following a green light for take-off this morning. Weather in Ward hunt had been unstable over the last two days grounding their final flight.

" We are go, just boarding the plane now and hope to start skiing later on tonight (2nd March Canada time, 3rd March Irish time), ice conditions are improving somewhat with sea conditions stablising also as we move away from the recent full moon. Clare, John and myself are nervous but confident." Pat said over Satellite conversation with Operations manager Niall Foley at lunch time today.

The teams progress can be tracked at News section on

Press and Media centre also available on - Contact Operations Manager, Niall Foley on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +353 861697388 for access.


Monday, 01 March 2010 09:11
Published in North Pole 2010

28th Feb - Pat Falvey in Resolute

I have just loaded the plane with all the gear tonight at 7.00pm Canada time. Back at base for a few hours. At 5.00am our time we will receive a call to let us know if the weather is ok.

If it is ok we will leave Resolute at 6.30am for our final flight to Ward Hunt which will take us 6 hours. More then likely we will make a few miles tomorrow.

We are now at the stage that after all the training and logistics we are about to begin on yet another historical Journey.

We are tense with the expectation that lies ahead, We are confident with our ability to pull it off and just hope that we have done all our planning and logistics right. As out here there is no room for mistakes or fools.

To the Pole, the journey begins.