“The Limerick Lion”, Pa O’Dwyer, is a five-time Ireland’s Strongest Man winner and World’s Strongest Man competitor. The 6-foot, 2-inch (1.88m), 140kg (308lb) former UK’s Strongest Man winner is a regular on the Giants Live circuit and has entertained crowds with his tremendous lifting ability as well as his uncanny impersonation of the legendary 3-time WSM winner, Bill Kazmaier.
The young O’Dwyer grew up working on a farm in Rathkeale, a town in south-west Ireland. Through his early twenties he worked on the roads, before turning to weight training and building the impressive strength that has established him as one of the best strongmen in Europe.
Pa had never been involved in organised sports, outside of school, but through a colleague he gained his first experience of weight-training – a moment that flicked a switch inside him. Pa was 21, and from there he quickly added muscle to his frame, and considerable strength too; quickly establishing himself as Ireland’s premier strongman.
Pa’s first success came at UK’s Strongest Man, where he placed 3rd in 2017. The following year he won the contest, in St Albans, defeating England’s Phil Roberts and 2016 Europe’s Strongest Man, Laurence Shahlaei.
The following year O’Dwyer made an international appearance at the Arnold Pro Strongman World Series event in Africa. Although he was well down the order, he returned in 2020 to place 6th at both Europe’s Strongest Man, in Boroughbridge, and Britain’s Strongest Man, held in Sheffield.
That same year he successfully qualified for the World’s Strongest Man contest held in Bradenton, Florida. Pa finished 4th in his heat, behind Americans Jerry Pritchett, Robert Oberst and England’s Luke Richardson.
Pa’s progress continued in 2021, where he improved to 5th at both Europe’s and Britain’s Strongest Man. He also made appearances at the Giants Live Strongman Classic and Arnold UK, where he finished 8th and 9th respectively. Despite the relatively modest placings, O’Dwyer’s confidence was growing, and he was gaining valuable experience at the highest level.
At the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man, O’Dwyer underlined his ability with a long-awaited podium finish. His second-place finish was well-received by the large arena crowds that have greatly enjoyed Pa’s good humour and showmanship.
In addition to his five Irish titles, Pa was victorious in the 2018 UK’s Strongest Man contest. However, his 2nd place finish as the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man, in Sheffield, is arguably the greatest achievement in his career to date and doubtlessly his most significant breakthrough. Pa finished runner-up to the 2021 World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman, and was able to stay ahead of the 2020 British Champion, Adam Bishop.
Pa’s focus is to become the first Irishman to qualify for the World’s Strongest Man finals; a feat he aims to achieve at the 2022 contest in Sacramento, California, in May. Pa’s 2nd place finish at the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man has shown that he is capable of beating WSM finalists such as Adam Bishop and Luke Stoltman. This will hopefully serve to boost the Limerick man’s confidence going into future contests.
Pa has provided much entertainment for strongman fans both on social media and television through not just his athletic prowess; O’Dwyer is a natural entertainer and has provided much amusement in his interviews and within his social media content.
As well as watching him perform at World’s Strongest Man and Giants Live Arena Tour, on Channel 5, fans can stay in touch with Pa via his Instagram account: @paodwyer_ , on Facebook as Pa O’Dwyer and on YouTube where he has his own channel.