The Swimmer

Background on Anri Ó Domhnaill (Henry O’Donnell) & his experience and expeditions

Who is Anri Ó Domhnaill (Henry O’Donnell)

Henry O’ Donnell (Anrí Ó Domhnaill), 56,   is a native of Carrickfin in the Donegal Gaeltacht. He is a father of six. A son, four grandsons and five daughters. Apart from his historic involvement with the local GAA teams / other sports, he always had an affinity with the great outdoors and was always inspired by the rugged Atlantic Ocean, coastal region and mountainous terrain in his native northwest Donegal. With a lifetime of outdoor activity, sport and disciplined work ethic, it was clear that he was destined for a career involving significant physical activity.

He had a keen interest in military affairs at a young age, joined the Irish Reserve Defence Forces at 17 and joined the Irish Army to serve as a professional soldier a few years later. He served for over 12 years with the Irish Defence Forces, including the Army Ranger Wing – Special Forces Unit and was part of the United Nations Military Mission in Lebanon during the war in 1986.

He started his own Independent Security & Risk Management Consultancy business in 1995. He is a self-employed Independent Security, risk and crisis management advisor by profession with a wide client base across private, industrial, corporate, government and commercial sectors in Ireland / abroad. He also has a small interest in property rental / management.

In general terms he is primarily focused on family life, healthy living, work, Adventure & Expeditions with a lifelong passion for music / song.  Many of his outdoor challenges, sea swimming and Mountaineering Expeditions were for charitable causes. He has always helped others through his work and expeditionary pursuits and is intent on continuing this trend into the future. 

Like many others in Ireland and around the world his business was seriously interrupted and consultancy services to the airline / aviation industry and other was no longer required. It was no surprise that he signed up to be On Call for Ireland. He helped relevant departments, local agencies and people in need where possible, on a Voluntary basis. He continues to assist others despite the fact that he is preparing for a gruelling finswim expedition in the very near future. 

Recent & Previous Expeditions 2014-2020

2018 January –February – Completed his Outback Australia Expedition = Lowest (Halligan Bay – Lake Eyre to Highest points in Australia mount Kosciuszco -Desert Crossings – Watson Bay / Sydney area Cliff Swim. Eden coastal swim South Australia, Boyd Beach swim & Other.

2014 January 27th–March, he successfully pioneered and completed his Sub-Sea to Summit Expedition in South America. This pioneering project over 4-5 weeks involved: reaching the (1)highest to (2)lowest points in the western and southern hemispheres, (3) crossing a segment of the Patagonia Desert, (4)Traversing the Perito Mareno Glacier, (5) Diving & swimming in the Sub-Antarctic Beagle Channel and (6) Climbing the Martial Glacier.

2013 October – Anri successfully completed a Trans Russian Expedition achieving the lowest to highest points of Russia – Summit of Mt. Elbrus (18,510ft) the highest mountain in Europe and one of the coveted Seven Summits. 

2013 August – Anri & global Team had to Abandon Summit Attempt of Mt. Elbrus, highest mountain in Europe due to horrendous/dangerous weather conditions. He reached contours above 15,000feet on that day and returned as per above and repeat & completed the expedition. As part of this challenge, he also completed swims in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea and the Marmara Sea. The Bosphorus also referred to sometimes as the Istanbul Strait is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus is the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosphorus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.  

2012 Iona Expedition – a reenactment of Colmcille’s Voyage (around 563) in a large traditional currach rowing from Derry to Iona Island off the Scottish coast with a team of 13 –  filmed by BBC television – title = Turas Go Oilean Í. 

2011 Trans African Expedition – he successfully completed a Trans African Expedition achieving lowest (Lac Assal, in Djibouti across the desert) to highest points of Africa – Summit of Uhuru / Kilimanjaro (19,341ft) Tanzania highest mountain in Africa and one of the coveted Seven Summits. As part of this expedition, he completed multiple dives and swims in the Arabian Sea (in the waters between Africa & Yemen), the Gulf of Aden and the Southern Red Sea. He made Private charity contribution to Mbahe primary school in Moshi near Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to buy mathematics textbooks to help further the education of students to help them move on to college. 

2009 Denali / Mt.McKinley Expedition Alaska – Abandoned due to climate and unforeseen factors. 

2010 Scottish Peaks Adventure – Snow / Ice Climbing in Glencoe peaks district Scotland.

2007 Mountain challenge Ireland – ten peaks in Ireland over 3000ft.

2006 Round Ireland Swim Expedition – he was a pioneer, expedition leader (and swimmer) of this successful charity event. The charity was the Lifeboat Service. Over €25,000 raised + other benefits for sponsors & charity. Covered on Highland Radio, RTE, BBC, TG4 & SKY news + Nationwide and other. Expedition supported by sponsorship & Donations.

OTHER – Club Football GAA ~Competed for Ireland at World Master Swimming  1996 & 1998 (Africa) Qualified Swimming Teacher ~ Qualified Lifeguard ~ Scuba Diver  ~ ICC Cruiser Boat Licence  ~ swim solo from Tory island to mainland 1995 in aid of L/Kenny hospital ~  swim mainland to Tory island 1997 for Irish cancer society ~ swim Tory to Aranmor island 1997 for children’s hospital, Dublin ~ completed sea/ocean swims in the Caspian Sea, Black sea & Marmara sea 2013 ~ Completed swim in Caribbean sea 2011 ~ Swim in Lac Assal Africa ~ swim in Dead Sea  ~ Mountain Munroe Ireland ~ Donegal Sports Star of the Year ~ Donegal Person of the year ~ Member Irish Sailing Association ~Member Mountaineering Ireland.

Other Expeditions

Climbing to the Summit & Circumnavigation of Aconcagua which is the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,960.8 meters (22,837 ft.) It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the province of Mendoza, Argentina close to  the international border with Chile. Aconcagua is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. It is one of the Seven SummitsLaguna del Carbón is a salt lake in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. This salt lake is in South East Argentina in the Patagonia Desert, within the Gran Bajo de San Julián (Great San Julián Depression). It is -105 meters (344 ft.) below sea level, Laguna del Carbón is the lowest point of Argentina and both the Western and Southern Hemispheres, and the seventh lowest point on Earth.

Crossing segment of the Patagonia Desert top reaches Laguna Del Carbón The Patagonian Desert, also known as the Patagonian Steppe, is the largest desert in Argentina and is the 7th largest desert in the world by area, occupying 673,000 square kilometres. The Patagonian Desert is the largest of the 40° parallel and is a large cold winter desert, where the temperature rarely exceeds 12°C and averages just 3°C. The region experiences about seven months of winter and five months of summer. Frost is not uncommon in the desert but, due to the very dry condition year-round, snow is. The Andes, to the desert’s west, are the primary reason for the Patagonian desert status as they inhibit the westerly flow of moisture from the southern Pacific from reaching inland. This creates a rain shadow that accounts for the formation of the desert and is why, despite approximately half of the desert being only about 200 miles from the ocean; such a large desert is found in the region. 

Traversing the Perito Mareno Glacier – The Perito Moreno Glacier is a glacier located in South West Argentina on the border with Chile. The 97 square miles ice formation is about 19 miles in length, is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system shared with Chile. This ice field is the world’s third-largest reserve of water. The Perito Moreno glacier, located 78 kilometres (48 mi) from El Calafate, was named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, a pioneer who studied the region in the 19th century and played a major role in defending the territory of Argentina in the conflict surrounding the international border dispute with Chile. NOTE He also climbed and crossed the Martial Glacier & Discovered TURF north of the Antarctic!

Diving in the Sub-Antarctic Beagle Channel – Multiple scuba dives and swim in the Beagle Channel south of Ushuaia. Dense Kelp, lots of invertebrate life: King Crabs, Arrow Crabs, Decorator Crabs, small Crayfish-looking creatures and lots of starfish. There were many small fish in the Kelp, which is quite thick and up to 90feet long plus sea lions, seals, dolphins, whales & penguins.

Our Team

Volunteer Members of FinSwim 2020

Rory O'Donnell

Expedition Photographer & Videographer

Eilish O'Donnell

Finswim Research & Forward Planning

Oisín McLaughlin

Digital Marketing & Web Design