About the Galway Cycle

Charity, Cycling and Craic!

The Galway Cycle is now into its 31st year and is going stronger then ever! Over the past 30 years over €1,000,000 euro has been raised for various Irish charities!

This section provides a brief overview into the history of the cycle and the various charities we have helped over the years as well as information on the current committee and sponsors for Galway Cycle 2018.

The Inception

The first ever “Galway Cycle” and its impact can be traced and measured back over many years.

It was 1987 when a small group of Clerical students of Saint Patrick’s College – Maynooth decided that they wanted to try and make a difference. A decision was made to organise a cycle that would start from the college gates and finish in Eyre Square – Galway. It was a basic principal but we knew what we wanted to do.

Why do this? – Two reasons:

  1. To set a challenge large enough that would entice people to sponsor us simply because of what would be involved
  2. To choose a deserving “Children’s Charity” (in Ireland) that would benefit from the much needed funds that we would raise

The overall aim – MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The first cycle event was a very small affair.  The sum total of the first ever Galway Cycle … approx. 8 cyclists and 1 support car!! While we did have stops, they were few and far between, and in turn with smaller numbers the pace was faster! The group arrived into Galway around 4 pm.

As the Cycle grew into becoming an annual event, the addition of the Young Christian Students (YCS) opened the event to all College students – both male and female. From this point on, the Cycle has continued to grow in numbers year on year!

As with today’s event – the cost of the Cycle in the early years was always an issue and, where possible, these costs were kept to a minimum. For years we stayed in the Salthill Parish Hall. It was dry, the floor was hard, it was cold at times in the sleeping bag – YES SLEEPING BAG! – but the craic was mighty!

There is one thing that hasn’t changed – The weather! It’s still as unpredictable as ever. In recent years we have been lucky, but then there was last year – it was a wash out on the way down, and bitter cold on the way home … A head wind and a chill of -12 on the home stretch made it a tough cycle. One previous year the cycle took place in early February….. this was to be the first and last. Why? Arriving into Kinnegad with icicles forming on the front of our Helmets wasn’t conducive to a pleasant cycle!

It was after this that the GC was changed to March. The intention being that the weather would be warmer!

There were also times when the cycle nearly didn’t take place. This was simple due to people moving on…..but with a very small core – the cogs kept turning.

Fast forward to present day – approx. 300 cyclist, 25 support vehicles, over 30 members of a support crew – all in one convoy.

We start together and more importantly……. we all finish together!

The basic principal of the Galway Cycle has always held true. Anyone who has been involved with the Cycle … in any way… will know exactly what I mean. It is for this reason that the GC is held in such fond affection by everyone who has been lucky enough to be involved.

The Galway Cycle has changed, touched and transformed so many peoples lives – but more importantly… “It has made THAT difference!”

The GC only makes “a difference” because of the special people involved.

Finally on behalf of all the charities – A very special heart felt thanks to you all……

Galway Cycle 2017 – 30 years and counting – Charity, Cycle, Craic.

Let’s keep her lit

Our Constitution

Governance in charities, and indeed in our charity partners is a key facet, and with this in mind, the Galway Cycle is in turn governed by a constitution, which is available to read here.

Previous Charity Partners


YearCharityAmount RaisedPresident
2017NRH Foundation Samantha Ward
2016Down Syndrome Ireland Aaron D’Arcy
2015Irish Guide Dogs€115,000Therese Lynn
2014PWSAI€150,000Andrew Garrad
2013Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation€151,000Emma Kilgannon
2012Down Syndrome Ireland€150,000Donncha Gayer
2011Pieta House€83,000Shane Lynn
2010National Breast Cancer Research Institute€81,300Ciaran Pollard
2009Cystic Fybrosis Association of Ireland€78,000Eimear Ryan
2008Headstrong€80,000John Doyle & Dominic Meehan
2007Stepping Stones ABA School€81,000Shane Quigley
2006Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice€67,500Brian Casey
2005The Irish Kidney Association€36,000Anne Cullen
2004Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus€35,000Paul Mullally
2003Irish Society for Autism€30,000Peter McGuire
2002Enable Ireland€26,000Maire Fox & Michael McHugh
2001Temple Street Children’s Hospital€35,000Caroline Mannion, Fiona Hoare & Mary McLoughlin
2000Fighting Blindness€18,000John McCormack
1999Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children€16,500Eamonn Carroll
1998ISPCC€12,700Ger Griffin
1997Meningitis Research Foundation€12,700Michael Sheridan
1996GOAL€10,100John McGrath
1995Make A Wish Foundation€12,700Ronan Barry
1987-1994ISPCC€12,700Marie-Therese Kilmartin and others


The Carmel Staunton Award

In 2002, a decision was made to initiate an annual award for one person’s special achievement and service to the Galway Cycle.
Following the untimely loss of our friend and fellow cyclist Carmel Staunton in October 2003 it was decided to dedicate this award to her memory. The piece below will give you some idea of what Carmel meant to her family and her friends on the Galway Cycle.

Carmel Our Dear Friend

Carmel was just 22 when she died tragically in a car crash. In her short 22 years, she packed in as much as she could; she was an inspiration, a true friend and a special, beautiful sister and daughter. She loved life and lived each day to its fullest.

Her passion was music. A multi-instrumentalist, Carmel had just completed a demo album of original songs, which she co-produced with her brother Martin & sister Emma.

During her time in Maynooth, Carmel took part in two Galway cycles and loved every minute of them. She always talked fondly about the friendship, determination & the craic between the students and everyone else on the cycle. She was always very proud to be part of such an amazing event and it was the highlight of her college year.

Carmel studied for 4 years in NUI Maynooth where she revelled in student life, never missing an opportunity to make new friends. For the first year she studied Music, German & Irish. After that year, she changed over to study Psychology and graduated in September 2003 with a First Class Honours Degree.

Friends were a vital part of Carmel’s life and she considered it very important to keep in contact with friends made throughout her life. Her song Friend for Life was written by her, for her Secondary School Graduation.

Carmel is missed hugely by her family and all those who loved her, she will never be forgotten and her memory will live on in our hears forever. We know that she will be helping everyone up those difficult hills on the cycle this year.

“Cherish those Times, Remember those Days”
taken from Friend for Life by Carmel Staunton

Previous Winners of the Carmel Staunton Award

2018Caoimhe Ryan
2017Kevin Sweeney
2016Donnacha Gayer
2015The Marshals
2014Ray Dowling
2013Mags and Seamus
2012GC Presidents
2011Support Crew
2010GC Cyclists
2009Mick McLoughlin
2008Ann Marie Brennan
2007The Staunton Family
2006GC Collectors
2005Marie-Therese Kilmartin
2004Fergus Heneghan
2003Ann-Marie Clarke
2002Martin “Roxy” Rocks