He claims to be 72, and if he claimed to 62, you’d think he was a young looking version of same.
Donal Corcoran arrived in Naas from his native Bishopstown, Co. Cork in 1964 and taught engineering in the VEC school in Naas until his retirement in 2005.
But he’s keeping himself busy, and has developed a passion from what he’s doing – walking the famous Camino through France, into Spain and over to the coast, at Santiago De Compostela in Galicia.
While all pilgrims end their trip in Santiago, the starting point is a movable feast. Donal has chosen to walk the longest version of the trip, in Le Puy, France. It’s a 1,000 mile (1,600 kilometre) walk and he has already completed 600 miles of it.
Donal’s wife Doreen died 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. James’ Hospital under Dr. John Kennedy.”
Donal says he’s fully funding the walk himself, so that all of the funds raised will go straight to St. James Hospital.
Donal start in Le Puy in September 2010, aged 70, and “so far I have walked 600 miles.
“I carry everything I need in a backpack and stay in Pilgrim Hotels.
“So far I have walked through 10 Departments (regions) in France. It gave me great pleasure to walk into St. Jean Pied de Pol, last September with Ingrid, a Dutch lady who I had walked with for about a week, knowing the hundreds of Pilgrims were starting their journey and I had already completed 500 miles.”
He has also walked over the Pyrenees and headed as far as Logrono, another 100 into Spain.
However that’s where a back injury that was later diagnosed as a slipped disc brought a halt to his gallup. He’s had surgery and is now mended, ready to go again.
His plan is to return there this autumn and complete the 400 miles left to Santiago.
Donal speaks warmly of the “many friends” he has made on the Camino and of the general supportive and friendly atmosphere amongst walkers.
If you wish 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