News 2017

Title:  Ursula MacPherson retires from Gartan OETC
Date:  04/09/2017

Mountaineering Ireland extends congratulations and best wishes to Mountaineering Ireland board member Ursula MacPherson who has retired following 27 years as Director of Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre in Church Hill, Co. Donegal.

Not only has Ursula has steered the development of the excellent facilities at Gartan, and led an outstanding team there, she was very highly regarded by management in Donegal Education & Training Board and she worked enthusiastically with her counterparts in Outdoor Education Ireland to gain recognition for outdoor education within Ireland’s education sector. Amongst many contributions to Mountaineering Ireland Ursula was instrumental in the establishment of Mountaineering Ireland’s Women With Altitude programme, and ably supported in this by the team at Gartan.

Ursula’s retirement was marked by a large gathering of friends, family, neighbours and others involved in outdoor education in the Boathouse at Gartan on Saturday 2nd September. Speakers included representatives from Donegal Education & Training Board, the Deputy Director at Gartan and of course Ursula herself who thanked all who had supported her over the years and also clearly showed her passion for Gartan, for Church Hill and for outdoor education.

Mountaineering Ireland President Paul Kellagher said he was struck by Ursula’s estimate that 160,000 students have benefited from the outdoor education programme at Gartan over the last 27 years, and added that it was a tremendous legacy to have influenced the lives of so many young people.

Ursula will be succeeded by Ciaran O’Brien who previously worked as an instructor at the centre and is currently managing a Youthreach programme in Donegal. Ciaran has said he is committed to maintaining the strong and positive relationship that exists between Gartan and Mountaineering Ireland.

When asked about her plans for the future, Ursula’s response was simply ‘I’m going out to play’.

No doubt Mountaineering Ireland will continue to benefit from Ursula’s good humour, creativity and her love of Ireland’s mountains.

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