Tuesday, January 18, 2000
By Barry Roche
'It's been everything I wanted it to be and more," declared ebullient Englishwoman Genevieve Payne (43), arriving in Cork on the final leg of her 3,000-mile walk around Ireland's coastline to raise funds for multiple sclerosis sufferers.
Genevieve completed her marathon walk on Saturday when she and Bertie, a Jack Russell, got back to Cork after an eight month hike.
Their travels helped to raise £10,000 for MS sufferers, North and South, and raised awareness about the disease.
The idea came last January when Genevieve, "your basic London girl about town", was made redundant from her job as a fashion buyer and decided to do something different and do it for a cause.
"I have a friend, Lynda Bond, who was diagnosed with MS 11 years ago and I felt there would come a time when I would like to give something back, if that doesn't sound too pretentious.
"When you walk you really experience scenery, you feel every hill and every turn of the road does open a new vista."
She has walked through the seasons and seen "all the different flowers and the change in the light during the year".
Staying close to the coast, Genevieve usually set off at 10 a.m. and walked for five to six hours, averaging 15 miles before staying at B & Bs along the route.
Because she was funding the walk herself, she treated herself when she and her brother Jonathan stayed at Ballymaloe House in east Cork last month.
"That really was great. We had some lovely food and when Myrtle Allen heard what I was doing, she very kindly didn't charge us," Genevieve said.
Among her highlights was meeting John Hume in Green castle. Her favourite spots were the Beara Peninsula, Connemara and Donegal, to where she plans to return next month and write a book on the walk.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so in the Republic at any Bank of Ireland
branch, while in Northern Ireland donations can be made to MS Society of
Northern Ireland or Action MS.