In May this year Professor Séamus Lawless will climb the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. Along with his oxygen bottles, ice axe and climbing gear, Seamus will carry a flag for Barretstown, an Irish charity that provides respite and recreational care for seriously and terminally ill children.
Born and raised in Bray, Co Wicklow, as a child Seamus was given a National Geographic map of the route up the south face of Everest by his father. Since then he has dreamed of reaching the summit. “I had that map on my wall for years. I have always been drawn to the mountains. We have been preparing over the last four years, training on an ongoing basis including preparatory expeditions to the Himalayas in 2016 where we climbed Mera and Island Peak (21,831 feet) and to Alaska last summer to climb the highest mountain in North America, Denali (20,310 feet).”
Reaching the summit of Mount Everest at the end of May will be the apex of a lifelong dream for Shay but he also hopes his trip will inspire the next generation to get out, get active and to experience the beauty of the Irish landscape.
Seamus will fly to Nepal on the 10th April. He will spend the next month acclimatising to the high altitude walking up the Khumbu valley until he reaches Everest Base Camp, the gathering place (17,600 feet) for expeditions to the summit. He will then do training climbs with expedition members and acclimatising to the thin air of the Everest environs until he heads for the final push to Everest’s (29,029 feet) summit at the end of May. No doubt Shay’s young daughter, Emma, and all the children at Barretstown who stand to benefit from Shay’s extraordinary display of bravery, strength and determination, will be foremost in his mind as he reaches the top.
He will climb Mount Everest with his teammate, Jenny, and will be guided by Noel Hanna, an Irish adventurer who has climbed Everest eight times and became the first Irish person to successfully climb and safely descend K2 in 2018. To help support Shay for this challenge see: https://sponsor.me/IrelandonEverest
Seamus, an Assistant Professor in the Artificial Intelligence discipline in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics and Associate Director for Non-Exchequer research funding in ADAPT, a Science Foundation Ireland research centre, spends his days researching the areas of Personalisation and Information Retrieval along with a number of Digital Humanities projects, investigating how people search for and consume information, particularly in Cultural Heritage contexts.
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