Join Donal on his last Camino mile - in Naas

A retired Naas teacher has invited members of the public to join with him next Tuesday, October 9, in walking the last few emotional steps of his pilgrimage.

A retired Naas teacher has invited members of the public to join with him next Tuesday, October 9, in walking the last few emotional steps of his pilgrimage.

Many readers will have been following the progress Donal Corcoran who has been walking the Camino pilgrimage in Spain.

Donal’s wife Doreen died some years ago from cancer and he says he is doing the Camino “in solidarity with all those who have suffered from cancer and for those who are still suffering from this disease.

“In doing this pilgrimage I am trying to raise money for the Research and Treatment of cancer in St. Jame’s Hospital under Dr. John Kennedy,” he explained.

Midway through last week, Donal emailed the Leinster Leader with the following update:

“I am now in Galicia, the Celtic region of Spain. For the last three days I have been walking in the rain. For some of that time I have been walking at altitudes varying between 600 and 1335 metres, so you can imagine the wind and the cold.

“One morning, a group of us, trying to leave our hostel at 6.30 am, were driven back in by the high winds and rain. Eventually we left at 8am.

“My nationality count - the number of other nationalities – is 21.

“I am within four or five days of Santiago (the end point of the pilgrimage).”

Donal’s aim is to arrive back in Naas next Tuesday on Dublin Coach from the airport.

He will get off the bus at Naas Cemetery “where I will place a Scallop Shell (carried by all pilgrims) on my wife Doreen’s grave.

“If anyone wants to walk the final mile of my 1,000 mile walk from Naas Cemetery to Naas Town Hall, they are most welcome.”

The sprightly and youthful looking 72 year old is originally from Bishopstown in Co. Cork.

He taught engineering at the VEC school in Naas since 1964 until his retirement in 2005.

While all pilgrims end their trip in Santiago, the starting point is a matter of choice.

Donal chose to walk the longest version of the trip, from Le Puy, France.

It’s a 1,000 mile (1,600 kilometre) walk and he has already completed 600 miles of it.

A back injury brought a halt to his gallop on his first attempt to complete the Camino, and he had to return to Ireland for surgery.

Now mended, he resumed his trip in early September.

To support Donal’s fundraising drive go to mycharity.ie/event/donal_corcorans_event

To keep up with his adventures and to read about his trip so far see his entertaining and insightful blog caminodonalcorcoran.blogspot.com.

- Conor McHugh