A hospital consultant has climbed the highest peak in every county in the country within a week in memory of his sister-in-law.

Richard Horgan completed the fundraising challenge almost five years after the death of his wife’s sister, 38-year-old Orla Gosnell, who was a mother of five.

The father of three, who is in his 40s, completed the task to raise money for Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) and will use the funds to create dedicated spaces for patients and staff.

Ms Gosnell, a social care worker, died in December 2018, five months after giving birth to her fifth child at CUMH.

Virgin Media News – See a piece on Richard finishing the challenge from Virgin Media News (scroll to 13:36 mins)

Dr Horgan, a CUMH consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, took the final steps of the challenge on Saturday after completing an average of four to five peaks per day.

As he descended the final peak, 918-metre tall Galtymore on the Limerick/Tipperary border, he said: ‘What a fantastic week. It has been challenging and brilliant.

If Orla could see us now, she’d be crying happy tears.’

Dr Horgan was joined by Ms Gosnell’s husband Robert, her mum Myriam and dad Kees on his final descent.

The medic, who has previously conquered Africa’s tallest peak, Kilimanjaro (5,895m), tripled the initial target of €10,000, with more than €30,000 rolling in from supporters at home and overseas.

During the seven-day trek with colleague and friend Professor Richard Greene, the pair climbed a combined altitude of 16,000 metres, which is almost twice the height of Mount Everest.

The challenge began in Cork on Sunday, July 16, and the climbers revealed they slept for little more than four hours per night.

They travelled more than 2,000km around the country and slept overnight at the base of the following morning’s peak.

Dr Horgan said: ‘I am overwhelmed by the love and respect for Orla, the support for Richard Greene and I, for CUMH, and I am humbled by the generosity and support of so many.’

Cork University Hospital Charity’s head of development Claire Concannon described the mountaineer as a ‘fantastic representative’ of so many donors who choose to fundraise in memory of a loved one.

‘Part of Orla’s legacy will be the creation of more comfortable spaces for anyone who may need it during their time in CUMH, where they can step away from the clinical spaces and just breathe,’ she said.

‘We are absolutely blown away by Richard’s energy and enthusiasm throughout the week and hugely appreciate his effort. Big thanks also to Professor Greene for such incredible support,’ she added.

Dr Horgan said Ms Gosnell always enjoyed a great relationship with children. He added: ‘She loved being pregnant but always wanted to be involved and to know everything about her care.

‘She was so dynamic. it was always about the solution rather than the problem with her. This lives on in her five fabulous kids.’

Dr Horgan said he hopes the new space will include a symbol specifically remembering Ms Gosnell and her experiences in CUMH.

‘What has always been to the forefront in my work is the patient’s experience, the mother’s experience – even in bad outcomes – and to make the experience as positive as we can.

‘When I walk into the maternity hospital, there are magnificent glass corridors and there’s an opportunity to install seats. We have three floors to work with and could do it on all floors. It is simply somewhere patients, their partners and staff can sit, take a moment, have a chat, take a phone call – have those few minutes.’