This weekend, Pa O'Dwyer of Newcastle West will travel up north to Bangor attempting to become Ireland's Strongest Man for the fourth year in a row. O'Dwyer's dominance over the Irish strongman scene comes at a big time for the sport in the country. RTÉ will broadcast both days of Strongman action this weekend, which is an interesting direction for RTÉ given the challenges other sports face getting airtime on the national broadcaster.
But what does it take to be a Strongman? We met O'Dwyer at the brilliantly-named Body Building gym in Raheen, where he does all of his Strongman training in a corner of the gym, to get a glimpse of how competitors train for the gruelling challenge of Strongman.
O'Dwyer is an incredibly friendly and funny guy, which makes it easy to forget just how massive he is. This weekend in Bangor, O'Dwyer and the other competitors will be square off in a jeep lift, a dead lift and tyre flipping. Inside the gym, O'Dwyer has boulders, a log and a massive half-ton tyre out back.
O'Dwyer comes from rural west Limerick and credits his farmer strength as the foundation of his background in Strongman. He has dominated the Irish Strongman scene since 2016 and boldly travelled over to the UK last year and won their competition, too. He credits his success to his technical abilities as a lifter.
"One of the things you need for a Strongman event is a strong core. You can't do anything without a strong core and without being able to breathe right. The weights that we lift can potentially kill you if you drop them on yourself," O'Dwyer says.
In the video above, O'Dwyer takes us through the technique required to do each Strongman skill, including lifting 100 - 200 kgs boulders.
"The thing with lifting the stones is getting as low as you can."
The biggest challenge for O'Dwyer is the diet that's required of Strongman. O'Dwyer eats 10,000 calories a day, which includes a steak dinner at midnight.
It's not easy being Ireland's strongest man, even if Pa O'Dwyer makes it seem that way.