Gearing up to give back – Sixmilebridge mother remembered during charity cycle

In November last, Sixmilebridge native Ella McMahon (nee Costelloe) lost her brave battle with cancer. Cycle for Ella is a five-day challenge the length of Ireland to raise funds for Blackrock Hospice in memory and celebration of her inspirational life. As the final preparations got underway, David Byrne spoke to Ella’s husband, Jack McMahon.

Sixmilebridge native, Ella McMahon (nee Costelloe)

SHE was a loving and devoted mother to her two beloved children, Louis and Evie, a wonderful wife to her dedicated husband Jack as well as a loyal life-long friend to many.

This long-lasting impression has inspired Ella McMahon’s family and close friends to complete the Mizen Head to Malin Head challenge in a bid to give back to a cause that helped them when they needed it the most.

Ella’s husband Jack McMahon has overcome the many challenges life has thrown at him in recent years and with this in mind, he is taking on another.

On Thursday, Jack and a group of his closest friends from Rice College in Ennis set off on a journey that will see the group cycle the full length of Ireland in aid of Blackrock Hospice.

 “I am still great friends with my mates who are all avid cyclists,” he explained.

“Hospices are always short changed, they never have enough money.

“When you need something like that, you really need it, because it’s palliative care.

“It is very important that that person has all the quality and comfort that they can get their hands on.

“So that’s why I have focussed my efforts on the hospice as opposed to Irish Cancer Society. The hospice becomes very important because you know it is the end. The quality of care, the quality of pain management and the quality of comfort is very important,” said Jack.

Praising the work of Blackrock Hospice, Jack believes that the crucial support provided goes far beyond just the patient in care.

With this in mind, the Ruan native said fundraisers such as the upcoming Cycle for Ella go a long way in helping provide the most basic of facilities for persons in hospice care and their family and friends.

“You have people travelling from all over the country and they might not have a coffee machine but they have been driving five hours to visit an auntie or an uncle and they can’t have a cup of coffee.

“You could be in there for 24 hours without getting home.

“It is the last couple of days of someone’s life so you want to make sure that the family are getting the comfort.

“You won’t necessarily remember the hospital visits over the last 10 years but you remember the time you have in the hospice with the person in there and the family who have come to support,” added Jack.

The hospice becomes very important because you know it is the end. The quality of care, the quality of pain management and the quality of comfort is very important.

Joining forces with his long-term friends who regularly take up cycling challenges together, Mr McMahon said the group are looking forward to the test and said such a difficult venture has captured the imagination of those who have donated to the cause so far.

“We wanted something that we could all get involved in, we could be part of, and we knew would be a challenge – it is 680km so it is not exactly easy.

“People are asking for money every day of the week but when you say that you are cycling Ireland and you raising money for charity, people react to that,” he said.

Cycle for Ella is a five-day cycle from Mizen to Malin to raise funds for Blackrock Hospice in memory and celebration of Ella McMahon (nee Costelloe) who sadly passed away in November last year after a long and courageous battle with cancer. 

Originally from Sixmilebridge but living in Delgany, County Wicklow, Ellas has been described as a “beautiful and inspirational lady”, character traits culminated in a much adored lady who left an incredible impression wherever she went. 

Having attended St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla, Ella trained as a hairdresser and stylist.

In 2001, she moved to Australia with Jack where they celebrated their magical wedding three years later before welcoming Louis and Evie into their lives in 2010 and 2012.

Unfortunately Ella was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, however, owing to her strength of character and seemingly endless reserve of resilience, she successfully battled it through a combination of treatment, diet and a positive mental attitude, determined not to be defined by the disease. 

In 2014, they returned to Ireland where they settled in Delgany and Ella became actively involved in the Bray Musical Society. 

Unfortunately, the cancer returned and despite further treatment, support from her family and her huge mental fortitude, Ella lost her brave battle in November last year.

The cycle kicked-off in Mizen on Thursday, May 2, with overnights in Killarney, Ennis (Friday, May 3), Knock, Rossnowlagh and finishes in Malin on the 6th May, covering roughly 700km overall. 

All participants are covering their own costs to ensure that any funds raised are donated to Blackrock Hospice, who they said took wonderful care of Ella and were a vital support to her family late last year.

As part of the event, organisers are hoping to generate awareness and funding for Cahercalla and Milford Hospices.

To donate towards Cycle for Ella, visit



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