The radio host arrived in the town on Sunday the 15th of May after Carlingford was chosen from list of 37 applications trying to entice the RTE host to their area
Carlingford was chosen from a list of 37 applications trying to entice him to visit the North East. Organisation of the event fell to the local C.C.T.A. Tourism group led by Harry Mc Carthy and a host of other organisation’s and voluntary groups in the area.
With little time to find funding for such an event which required the community to feed the multitude who might or might not turn up, every favour was called in and finance was received from Failte Ireland and Louth Co. Council. Every restaurant in Carlingford provided free soup and rolls which was brought to the Foy Centre for distribution when the walkers returned from the mountain.
By 11.30am the town was packed with people from every part of Ireland, well in excess of 800. The Carlingford pipe Band led the huge crowd through the narrow streets with John Murray of RTE following behind. Marketing Director Frances Taylor of Carlingford and Mourne Tourism was by his side, briefing him on the town and the story of the Táin.
First stop was outside the Kingfisher Bistro where he was presented by Dearbhla Mc Donald with an inscribed cake of welcome and a medieval sword to cut it. Then onwards towards the mountain interviewing as he went, local lady Eileen Kelly whose husband Eddie R.I.P. was the first man to get a heart transplant in Ireland.
Peadar Quine Archaeologist of Setanta Walking tours accompanied John for a good part of the mountain walk. Peadar’s stories of the region of mythical and pre- Christian and Celtic Ireland fascinated him and the crowd and indeed many locals who were unaware of the rich heritage all around them.
The crowd huffed and puffed its way half way up Sliabh Foy to be met by Queen Maeve herself in all her finery astride a white stallion, she looked very like Kirsten Rice, and then further up by the Ceoil Carlinn choir who were in fine voice.
It was said that the voices of Peter Luet, John Mc Kevitt,Andrew Mc Donald, cousins John and Owen Woods Lawrence McArdle, and that of Michael Mc Cabe of Louth Co Council, Stewart Agnew and Roisin Bradley could be heard reverberating below off the old walls of the medieval town such was the enthusiastic rendition of their singing.
By 4pm John had been presented with a certificate to make him an honourary life member of the Crows Walking Club, the Red Cross and Order of Malta had not been called upon to render first aid.
The stewards from the Carlingford Adventure Centre, The Wee Binion Walkers, and the Crows had done their work well.
A feast awaited them in the Foy Centre under the capable management of Ann Deary and a team of voluntary ladies who managed the huge crowd magnificently.
Asked for a quote on the day Frances Taylor of Carlingford and Mourne tourism said “If nothing else comes out of this, this community once again have demonstrated that like on so many other occasions that the people here working together can make anything happen and are as good or better than the best” It was a great day. Ireland.