Mayo man breaks world record for longest barefoot walk

Eamonn Keaveney (23) passes 1,448 km mark in fundraising effort for Pieta House

A Mayo teacher has broken the world record for the longest barefoot walk.

Eamonn Keaveney (23) from Claremorris embarked on a 2,021 km journey from his hometown to raise money for suicide prevention charity Pieta House ten weeks ago.

His barefoot walk has taken him from Co Galway to Co Cork, Co Waterford, Co Donegal, across the Wicklow mountains and into Northern Ireland.

The current title belongs to Michael Essign from Germany who walked 1,448km barefoot back in 2013.


On Wednesday morning, Mr Keaveney passed the 1,448 km mark while walking through Ballynahinch, Co Down.

Eamonn has been keeping GPS records and log books of his walk in order to verify his world record for Guinness, which he says could take up to a year to be officially given to him.

A spokesperson for Guinness said “once the evidence has been submitted to us it can take between 10-12 weeks to review and ratify a successful record”.

Mr Keaveney has raised over €13,000 for suicide charity Pieta House, and will continue the final leg of the 2021 km journey to raise more funds.

“People have been cheering me on, offering me a bed for the night and just really helpful in general when they find out what I’m doing,” he said.

Eamonn already had barefoot walking experience having walked part of the Camino de Santiago route shoeless in Spain in 2014 and climbed Croagh Patrick barefoot a few years ago.

Eamonn is carrying only the bare essentials on his trip : a sleeping bag, cooking items, and a change of clothes.

“I had anticipated camping a lot on the trip but I only ended up camping twice or staying in a hotel or B&B. People have been very hospitable and have welcomed me into their home,” he said.

Eamonn said he has been motivated to continue his barefoot trek by the unwavering support he has received from family and strangers.

“There haven’t been points where I have wanted to give up but there have been times where I have had to dig very deep. The worst time for me came in week two. I really started to hit a wall and it was really tough. My feet were sore and I was very tired but I managed to break through it and motor on,” he said.

“I have been fortunate enough to remain injury free through out the trip despite walking for miles in my bare feet. They have definitely toughened up in the past few weeks,” he said.

“The knowledge that people were backing me up stopped me from quitting. Of course there were times when I was tired, in a bad mood and my joints were aching but then something as small as a car passing by and the driver giving you a beep, would give you a boost. I’d start walking faster and remember why I was doing all this,” he said.

Eamonn will do another loop of Northern Ireland before making his way back down the coast to his hometown in Co Mayo within the next four weeks.

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or email You can also find your nearest Pieta House at