Paddy Conaghan (83) pictured at Lough Owel on January 1 on his mission towards taking a dip in lakes across every county in Ireland.

Lough Owel stop for 83-year-old raising money for IMNDA

Donegal man Paddy Conaghan stopped in Lough Owel yesterday on his mission towards taking a dip in a lake in every county in Ireland.

The 83-year-old is completing the feat in aid of The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) and has raised €5,280 to date.

He said he was motivated to take on the challenge after seeing Charlie Bird discussing his experience with the illness.

“I had been looking at Chalie Bird on television and seen how it affected him and thought I’d like to raise money for it,” he said.

“I always liked Charlie over the years, I liked his journalism and I was impressed with the climb up Croagh Patrick he did and wanted to challenge myself too.

“I’m doing a lake in every county, that’s the plan.”

Susan Reddy and Ronan Flood traveled all the way from bagenalstown Carlow to support Paddy

Paddy said he has done lakes in 20 counties to date.

“We were recommended the diving boards here at Lough Owel so I said id give it a go,” he said.

“We have 11 more to go and we’re going well now thankfully.

“The plan was to do one a day in every county, but we have done two in some places.”

Milo Breslin and Lorcan Carey supporting Paddy Conaghan at Lough Owel last Thursday.

Paddy was confident he has faced colder waters than those at Lough Owel (on January 1) so far in his journey.

“The coldest one I’ve been to was a lake at the Comeragh Mountains in Waterford,” he said.

“That day was absolutely freezing in the middle of all the cold weather.

“But I’m used to cold water at this stage - I get in a barrel with ice every morning.”

Paddy is raising funds for The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) who provide specialised services to families affected by the terminal condition.

Donations can be made at