Meet our Guides: Ali Donald & Charlene Cronin!
Ali Donald first sat in a kayak in 1986. Since then he has paddled in 25 countries worldwide, in expeditions and competitions. But whether he's on Himalayan whitewater or in a dugout on the Orinoco, there's nowhere like home, and the islands of the Mayo and Galway coast are always calling.He is a qualified level 4 instructor with the Irish Canoe Union and a member of the ICU panel, which trains and assesses new Instructors. He also holds the equivalent awards with the British Canoe Union. For a complete list of Ali's qualifications see below. He has competed internationally for Ireland in marathon, sprint, canoe polo, freestyle (World Championships '97, '99 & 2001) and surf (World Championships '97). In freestyle he competed on the North American and European circuits from 1998 to 2001.
He has guided and instructed in on sea and rivers in Ireland, Wales and the French Alps, and has worked as a videographer and rescue boater for rafting companies in the USA, New Zealand, Uganda and Zambia.
A schoolteacher by profession, Ali has taught in schools in Connemara and on the Aran islands, and teaches science through the Irish language. He also has a degree in Marine Science from University college Galway, specialising in Marine zoology. When he's not actually in a boat, he's often found in a shed fixing or making boats. He is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys mountaineering, surfing and sailing, or just messing around on the beach with the dogs! Most of all he takes a great pride in what Irish seakayaking has to offer and loves to share with others a sport that has given him so many happy times.
ICU Level 3 Sea Kayak Instructor.
ICU Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor
ICU Level 2 Open canoe Instructor
ICU Level 4 Sea Proficiency
ICU level 5 Whitewater Proficiency
First Aid – Rescue Emergency Care- Wilderness Based Level 4
VHF and Medium Wave Radio operator
Senior Lifesaving & Resuscitation
Originally from the wilds of Co. Limerick, Charlene brings her enthusiasm and love for the waters of the West Coast with her wherever she goes! She has a BA in Outdoor Education & Leisure from GMIT in Castlebar. She has led kayaking adventures on the Thames in Westminster, London and the Gold coast of Australia. She also pulls a great pint of guinness!
Charlene's Qualifications ;
Level 4 Sea kayaking Skills (ICU)
Level 2 kayak Instructor
First Aid ; Remote Emergency Care Level 3 & AED Operator.
Safety Boat Operator.
Level 5 Legend!!
Ian Donald is Ali's Dad and lends his considerable business experience to Saoirse na Mara. He is a graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and Rural Development at NUI Maynooth. He is a deadly mackeral fisherman and is often to be found scouring the seas in his kayak with a line of hooks chasing the tastiest fish in the bay!