In the early hours of Tuesday, 25th July, the world received welcome news of an extraordinary achievement. 24-year-old Siobhan Brady, hailing from Castletroy in County Limerick, reached the 5,895-meter summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, breaking a Guinness World Record in the process. This remarkable feat was part of her ambitious endeavour to host a unique concert on Africa’s highest peak, aptly titled the ‘Highest Harp Concert.’
Siobhan had already made history in 2018 when she set the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude harp performance in the Himalayan region of India, at a staggering elevation of over 16,000 feet. Undeterred by her past achievements, she sought to surpass her own record by bringing the ethereal sounds of the harp to even greater heights.
The concert, a mesmerizing 20-minute display of talent and culture, featured an array of traditional Irish melodies and more contemporary compositions. Siobhan also incorporated a touching Tanzanian jig into her performance, titled ‘Thank You Tanzania’ in Swahili, a heartfelt tribute to the nation hosting her momentous endeavour.
Adding a poignant touch to the performance, Siobhan rendered a rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Little Bird.’ This song held a special place in the hearts of the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) community. During the concert, a poem titled ‘The Prophets Are Weeping’ by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, was read by renowned CF Advocate Caroline Heffernan.
The journey leading up to this momentous event was a testament to dedication and teamwork. The core team of 19 individuals meticulously planned and trained for over two years on various Irish peaks and Mount Teide on the Canary Island of Tenerife. Guiding them up the challenging slopes of Kilimanjaro was none other than renowned Irish mountaineer and adventurer, Pat Falvey. His leadership ensured the success of the complex and expansive logistics, which involved an African-based team of around 60 dedicated individuals.
Before commencing their journey to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, the team received a heartfelt send-off from the Irish Ambassador for Tanzania, Mary O’Neill presented Siobhan with an Irish flag, symbolizing the connection between Ireland and Tanzania. An official reception at Machame Gate, hosted by Dr Hassan Abbasi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, added to the significance of the event.
As Siobhan and her team descended to the lower Barufa Camp after the triumphant concert, she expressed elation and gratitude for the overwhelming support they received. The final leg of their journey tested their resilience, but they emerged victorious, enveloped by clouds with the world below them.
Among the many well-wishers congratulating the team was Philip Watt, CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. He praised Siobhan and her team for their fundraising initiative and for breaking the Guinness World Record, highlighting their efforts’ importance in supporting Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s work.
As the team prepares to return home, Siobhan’s achievement stands as an inspiring testament to human determination, the power of music to unite cultures, and the impact of collective support. The memories of this historic journey will be cherished forever, and Siobhan’s name will be etched in the annals of Guinness World Records.
As an explorer and leader, Pat Falvey expressed immense pride in guiding the team on this transformative journey. Their collective effort and unwavering determination exemplified the true spirit of adventure and camaraderie. This achievement marks a stepping stone in their pursuit of more ambitious expeditions and positive impact on theworld.
The Highest Harp Concert on Mount Kilimanjaro will remain an enduring symbol of courage, unity, and the indomitable human spirit. Siobhan Brady’s legacy will inspire countless others to reach for the stars, pursue their dreams, and make a lasting difference in the world.