Adventure, Cycling, Interviews

Interview with Fearghal O’Nuallain – Irish Adventurer

Geographer | Adventurer | Circumnavigator

Fearghal is busy man, and not a guy to do things by half. For his university thesis he walked across Rwanda, then circumnavigated the globe by bike. For once, let me be bias, this guy is Irish, therefore he has won me over before I asked him the very first question. Ladies and Gents, I give you the man from Wicklow, Mr. Fearghal O’ Nuallain:


Courtesy of Fearghal O'Nuallain

1.In 2008 You were part of the first Irish Circumnavigation of the Globe by Bicycle, whats it like having that tagline to your name?
I’m proud to have started something I wasn’t sure I would finish and then to actually finish it. But to be honest, the tag line was just a hook for sponsors. You need a USP to get sponsorship. It makes things easier if you have an “st” somewhere in the tagline; farthest, longest, hardest, highest etc. Experiences and qualities count for much more in my book.    

2.If the two of yous were the first Irish lads, does that mean the position is still open for an Irish women to take on?
Of course! It’d be great to see more girls cycling around the world.


3.You have cycled the globe, but have you cycled the Wicklow Way?
Nope. It’s on my bucket list.

4.So far you can boast:
2003- The Prince’s Highway- Melbourne to Sydney by bicycle-(1,000km)
2004- Irish End to End- Malin Head to Mizen Head by bicycle(700km)
2005- Across Europe- Dublin to St Petersberg by bicycle-(3,500km)
2007- The Dry Run- Aswan to Alexandria by bicycle-1,000km
Pretty impressive CV, how does it feel looking at that and knowing you are one of few to accomplish such feats?

There are loads of people doing really impressive, productive and creative adventures at the moment. People like Tony Mangan, Alastair Humphreys, Mark Pollack, Mark Kalch, Ed Stafford, Dave Cornthwaite, Joseph Murphy, Sarah Outen, Tom Allen, Andy Welch… I could go on. Now they’ve got impressive CVs.   

5. Do you find it tough coming back home and settling back into the small town life that Ireland is famous for?
Yes! Its hard to come back and get settled back into urban life in Europe after being out there in the world at large.

Courtesy of Fearghal O'Nuallain

6.Do you think you will ever stop, come home and settle down?

I hope so.  
7.You don’t just write about your own adventure’s but review other people’s sports, for example, your article on parkour. Are these just a source of income or a way of getting inspiration for your next escapade?

I think adventure’s more than just something crazy that “men that don’t fit in” do for kicks and attention. Parkour is particularly interesting. Its built on the principles of being fit and useful. Adventure changes the way you see the world and I find it really interesting to explore those different perspectives.  

8.What have you in store for us next?

In January I’ll walk the Transylvanian Alps. It’s a vast wilderness on our doorstep; complete with bears, wolves, vast virgin forests and maybe vampires!

9.You have competed in The Turf Guy, is that a one off for you, or will you be returning to endure it again?
I’d love too, it was the best dirty weekend I’ve had in a long time.

10.On one of your blog posts, it said “Coming back from such a journey was bitter sweet. It felt like the end of something great. And the start of something not so exciting.I got depressed. I got frustrated.”
I’ll bet this happens a lot to adventurers, any advice, for getting over the fear of that bout of depression and moving onto the next task?
There’s always a risk of getting post adventure blues; the only way to avoid it is to keep active and get planning the next adventure.
11.Did your many degrees set you up for the life you have chosen to lead?

Someone famous said that the “world teaches us much more than books”. An expedition is educational. You learn something new about yourself and the world every time you go.However, I studied Geography at university and that definitely helped with what Im doing now.

Courtesy of Fearghal O'Nuallain

12.How did you convince organizations to sponsor you?
By putting myself in their shoes first. You’ve got to remember that you have to give back in return for what you get. You have to show the potential return to get someone to give you something.

13.Have you tried the traditional tourist route before? What have you found lacking in it?
Paying someone else for an experience will never come close to the feeling of coming up with an adventure, planning it, and then living it.

14.I’ve always wanted to know, how people find their way while on route, is it just a pile of paper maps, or have you gone techno and are using sat navs?
Maps and People. There’s no need for Sat Nav, it just makes you lazy and detached.

Follow Fearghal’s adventures on Twitter @Revolution_Ferg


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