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I was just 18 years old when a devastating car accident left me permanently blind. What started as a typical night out changed my life irreversibly and it took many years of challenges and uphill struggles for me to learn to adapt to life in the dark.

My story, however, is not one of sorrow and self pity. The path I was destined for, which admittedly I resented for a long time, was the one that eventually saw me overcome challenges I wouldn't previously have dreamed of taking on.

I've skied on tough Austrian slopes, cycled thousands of kilometres in the US and Australia and I was the first blind Irish man to climb Kilimanjaro.

And that's just to name a few! I have had an incredible life so far. There is nothing I can't do just because I'm blind and it took me years of dealing with my situation to find that out. These days I am the only blind practitioner of complimentary therapies in Ireland, I run my own business and wood turn in my spare time.

I won't pretend it has been easy, at times it was far from it, but I honestly don't think I would be half the person I am today if it had never happened.

I have learned so much and in a strange way am grateful for those lessons - the biggest of which is that there is life, Beyond the Darkness.

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About the Author
Having lived some of his childhood in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, Robert moved to Tallaght in his early years and lived at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. It was in these hills that he spent a large amount of his youth, on his grandad's farm, under the influence of his four uncles. Considering the lush valley of Glenasmole is only five miles from the ever-growing town, Robert was quite happy juggling the two totally different ways of rural and urban life.

When not on the farm he was like any other teenager, living in Tallaght and getting involved with the local GAA club, among others. Being a typical teen, he found ample opportunity to hang out with his gang of mates and get up to all sorts of mischief; but overnight Robert's life changed forever, after a terrible car accident.

Among other horrific injuries he was left permanently blind.

More than two decades on, and having achieved several huge goals that many fully-sighted people would not dare to even take on, he finally tells his story in the pages of this book.

It's an autobiography that is shockingly hard-hitting and brutally honest - an emotional roller coaster that will have you crying one moment and laughing the next. But it is also incredibly uplifting.

This story, is told by a man who, for eighteen years, could see perfectly - before he was plunged into the depths of despair. But it is not just about how he turned his life around. This book goes further than that.

This book goes, beyond the darkness...