I’m Shay, I work as a Professor of Computer Science in Trinity College Dublin. I’m married to Pam and have a little girl, Emma. The earliest memory I have of Everest being in my thoughts was as a young boy, looking up at my bedroom wall at a National Geographic centre-fold that was given to me by my Dad. Not the usual type of centre-fold a young guy would love, but then I always was a bit of a nerd! The poster plotted the route up the south face of Everest, and I remember being mesmerised. I think the desire to climb Everest has been niggling away at the back of my mind ever since.
I was lucky enough that a teacher in secondary school (shoutout to Mr. Senan Reidy in St. Thomas’ C.C., Bray!) regularly brought us hiking in the Wicklow Hills and taught us how to read maps and use a compass. While I have always been drawn to the outdoors, this is where my love for the hills began to blossom, and has continued to grow ever-since. I still regularly hike with a classmate from those days (when Wayne’s ankles aren’t at him!).
Being involved in the Ireland on Everest team is a truly wonderful opportunity. It gives me a chance to be part of a team of like-minded people, pushing ourselves to achieve a hugely challenging goal. It presents the chance to inspire others, particularly school kids, to get out amongst the hills in this wonderful landscape that we call home. It will allow me to work with, and make a contribution to a charitable cause that I really believe in. Finally, I am fiercely patriotic, and being one of a team of ordinary Irish people that succeeds in tackling one of the world’s great physical challenges would be a life-altering achievement.