BY HELEN RIDDELL
A FACEBOOK group set up on the Beara Peninsula to encourage people to walk 3km a day at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic has just celebrated its first birthday.
Beara 3k a Day was set up in March 2020 by local man Paul O’Shea. One year later the group now has over 2,300 members which Paul says includes a large number of the Beara diaspora around the world.
‘It was March last year, I’d just heard Leo Varadkar’s speech on the TV, closing the pubs and cancelling St Patrick’s Day. I went out for a walk and it was weighing on my mind, people being laid off work and what was ahead of us. I came home and rang a friend, Carol Murphy, and said we need to do something. I always feel great after a walk so we thought the benefits of walking could help everyone. We came up with the idea of a 3km walk every day which we thought everyone could manage with little or not effort.’
Paul, who runs a garage in the town, set up a Facebook page for people to join and post their daily walks to share with others. ‘We had certain guidelines, people had to take a photo of a scene from their route, and show the distance they had walked. They also had to ensure their walk met with all Government restrictions, walking within the approved distance, and maintaining social distancing.
‘We have Beara people from across Ireland, and from Montana to Sydney taking part. I log on some mornings and can see that there’s already 25 posts up so it would give you a great incentive to get up and get out.’
The group also raised €10,000 and split the funds between Schoil Phobail Beara and Beara Distillery to purchase supplies to aid them in the production of safety visors and hand sanitiser for frontline workers.
As the months went by, the group took on an additional challenges, with people being asked to undertake some research in their local area, and post a short history piece along with their walk details.
‘It’s a great resource of local heritage and we would hope to publish a book at some stage,’ says Paul. ‘Maybe in 20 years time we can look back at this time, and see something positive to come out of it.’
To join the group see Beara3kADay on Facebook.