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.
Pat recently featured on Radio Kerry's popular Saturday Supplement with Frank Lewis. The show had many of Pats friends and family on the phone as guests. Frank discusses many topics with Pat including the North Pole expedition, coming to Kerry many years ago and his active role with promoting education while running a travel and training company. Thanks to Mary in Franks office and Radio Kerry for sending on the recordings. You can also find our full databse of podcasts in our gallery page.
Below is a selection of podcasts from the show:
Frank Lewis runs a PR company and Art Gallery in Killarney. Frank also runs a weekly show with Radio Kerry.
Radio Kerry was voted ppi local station and was also awarded a ppi award for a programme featuring Pat following his South Pole expedition, titled 'Ask the Explorer'
More Podcasts see our gallery
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 vimeo.com/channels/falvey
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.
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 - www.collinspress.ie
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, www.mountaineering.ie
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
• 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
Below is a selection of radio interviews and podcasts:
A few weeks before Christmas a member of the expedition team was invited to talk to the students of 'Our Lady of the Wayside' primary school in Kiltiernan in Dublin. The North Pole team were out in Canada training so Niall Foley travelled up to give a short presentation on the Antarctic and South Georgia.
With so many kids in attendence Niall decided to bring some props as follows: Down Sleeping Bag, Thermal Sleeping Mat, Rucksack, Winter Expedition Boots, Crampons, Ice Axe and Harness.
"After a lovely welcome I was thrilled to see that the school had the corridors covered in Antarctic and Ice project work, Sharon Kelly of the PALC had mentioned it was this years theme for the school, brilliant idea!"
Mrs Duckenfield would have been the driving force behind the Antarctica Project in the school. Also, our Acting Principal is Mrs Burns (while Ms. Corcoran is on maternity leave) and the talk was given to all classes from 2nd class up to 6th class. The Parents Associations Library Committee, in conjunction with Mrs Duckenfield decorated the School Library / Corridor and each class made something to display during Art.
All the kids entered the hall and were very excited. Niall spoke a bit on History first as a starting point, raising questions to the kids ever so often. With a slideshow behind him he then displayed some fantastic colour images of South Georgia and training for doing the crossing, not to mention the many different types of penguins and seals. The excitment rose further when Niall was speaking about Pat and the South Pole trip, he displayed some great images of Freddy T Bear pulling a sled and skiing. Once he finished up a little later Niall produced freddy out of his rucksack and there was mayhem!! The kids couldn't believe Freddy had also come to their school. A few photos later and there was a big thank you to Niall for coming along with his stories and expedition gear. Each class getting a chance to hold freddy's paw on the way out back to their classes.
Niall mentioned "It was a great day, I was a little nervous when I arrived but when I walked up the hallways to see the great project and artwork on the walls it was like I was back in the Antarctic. The kids were brilliant, and we hope they keep up their interest in the Antarctic and the Arctic especially as Freddy is heading up with the Irish North Pole team soon. Bravo to the Teachers, staff and PALC for keeping the kids minds alive with great activities like these projects, I'm sure the extra effort will go along way... Some of the kids sent me lovely letters, it was really nice to read each one and what they learned from my visit."
Following a conversation with the team today at 12.00pm - noon Irish time - from their hotel in Punta Arenas, Chile. They can confirm their arrival at Cork Airport, Ireland at approx. 7.00pm, Thursday the 17th.
We will officially release final details to the press tomorrow, Wednesday 16th.
Pat said “We didn’t get any sleep on the flight here… Totally exhausted now after organising our gear from the plane, about to have my first proper shower in months. The rest are asleep at the moment. We are delighted to have the second leg of our journey home over, we are now confident on getting home to green Ireland on Thursday. It was weird stepping on to unfrozen ground for the first time today in nearly 80 days. Can’t wait to be home.”
Early morning alert, to leave the ice.
Mark our friendly weather man has given the all clear, for conditions that will allow the plane to land safely. A team of people are now down on the ice runway preparing it for what is to me the scariest landing and take off in aviation.
3km of pure ice, the pilots can’t use brakes, as the plane will spin out of control. It has to come to a final stop through the force of gravity and reverse trust in their massive engines. On leaving once its starts to take off, there will be no room for a re-think, its up or crash out of control.
The pilots are some of the most amazing I have seen, to do this job you need nerves of steel and these Russian crew have buckets of nerve.
The Eagle is about to leave Punta Arenas in 4 hours, cross fingers that the weather doesn’t change while they are en-route. We are really looking forward to the next stage of our adventure.
Will update all of you later on arrival of the plane and let you know if we’ll get off today.
Following a surreal 56-hour stay at the South Pole, it was a relief to see the twin otter arrive to collect us at 23.00 last night. We packed all our gear into the plane and turn around time was less than 1 hour. The forecast wasn’t good and the pilots didn’t want to waste any time.
We were bound for Patriot Hills, – our base camp over 1,120km away. The base team had sent ham and cheese sandwiches for us to eat en route… Our excitement at eating fresh food after so long was childish!
The flight was smooth and despite the cramped space, enjoyable. It was fascinating to watch the route we had trudged over – it was a clear, sunny night and visibility was certainly better than when we had been skiing.
After a brief stop half way to refuel, we continued on, reaching Patriot Hills at 03.45am. We were all wrecked and expecting to have to pitch our tents and retire with half-empty stomachs… We were over the moon when the staff here invited us to dinner.. Wow! We started with skewers, followed by steak, potato, vegetables and dessert, topped off with champagne! We really hadn’t been expecting such a welcome and enjoyed every mouthful. We relaxed and chatted until 07.00, before turning in…it was great to finally be on the way home.
Unfortunately, the winds have picked up here in Patriot Hills and it looks like it will be at least 3-4 days before the Illuyshin can come in from Chile for us; we are awaiting up to date forecasts.
13th January Sunday
We are still held in her icy grip!
This is our 75th day away from home. 63 of those days on the ice and we are all getting home sick now, I just can’t wait to be back to the place I love most in the world, Ireland. Home is where the heart is.
The wind hit us hard;
Yesterday was very windy and we could see no end to the katabatic winds that hit us. But this morning to our surprise the winds have eased. So all going well, provided the winds don’t increase again, our Russian aircraft will depart from Punta Arenas tomorrow sometime and make it’s 6 hour journey to pick us up from Patriot Hills here at the edge of the Antarctic continent to bring us back to civilization.
We will then sort out all our gear and leave South America on the 16th January at 04:00am for our journey home. All going well we will be back in Cork on the evening of the 17th January. The first item on our agenda on getting back to South America is to have a hot shower and a good meal. If all goes to plan we will then get all our equipment sorted for shipping home.
A hard life;
Expedition life is a hard one, but it does make you appreciate the simple things that I have taken for granted in my earlier life. Family, friends, those that love us. The beauty of my country, it’s people, tradition and our culture. I’m so looking forward to home, to see Ireland’s forty shades of green, a walk in our native woods, a climb on Corran Tuathail, a pint in Kate Kearney’s Cottage in the Gap of Dunloe, a visit to Tom’s pub, (South Pole Inn) to pay my respects to one of the un-sung heroes; Tom Crean.
Here on the ice, I dream of home and when I get home, I will dream of other my next adventurer. I will reflect on my 62nd expedition in Antarctica and wonder how we could have done better, prepare a new lecture series, start my next book, but most of all plan my next adventure. I’m looking forward to a belated Christmas dinner and a welcome home from my family, friends and supporters. The most important people on the team.
Lets hope all goes to plan and tomorrow we leave this amazing landscape of a heaven in hell or a hell in heaven. That the Gods of Antarctica releases us from her icy grips safely.
It’s not over yet. Lets see what tomorrow brings.