Garda Conor McCaughey with members of the Realt Na Mara Students and special Olympic representatives with the Special Olympic torch PICTURE: Arthur Kinahan
The Special Olympics torch made a very special stop off at Realt na Mara National School in Dundalk on Monday afternoon, part of it's Leinster tour ahead of the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Ireland Games this Thursday.
The torch, known as the 'Flame of Hope' stopped off at the primary school to wow pupils on Monday morning as part of the Special Olympics Ireland Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR)
The LETR is an important awareness raising and fundraising programme for Special Olympics Ireland, which is annually organised by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána. The torch makes its way around the country, inspiring and motivating people along the way.
The torch, a symbol of hope and inclusion is touring Leinster and the rest of the country on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week before the Games' opening ceremony at Tallaght Stadium.
The torch is carried by members of the Garda Síochána, PSNI and Special Olympics Athletes around Ireland until finally igniting the flame of the Special Olympic Cauldron.
"We were absolutely thrilled to be selected as one of the lucky primary schools across Ireland to welcome the Flame of Hope to our school," Realt Na Mara Principal Sile Holland said on Monday.
"Our students worked extremely hard in preparation for the flames arrival and seeing the excitement in all their eyes as the Flame of Hope entered our school yard was just amazing.
"We would like to thank all of our parents and staff who helped to prepare our school for today and all who brought refreshments," she added.
Ardee based Conor McCaughley and local officer Graham Doolin were among those leading the torch run, with the latter describing the event as “Fantastic".
"The atmosphere and reception that the Realt Na Mara students gave us and the Team Leinster Athletes who were carrying the torch once we ran in was amazing and something that we will never forget," he said.
"It was a fantastic start for all the Special Olympic Atheletes who were in attendance from both Dundalk and St. Theresa’s Special Olympic clubs”.
The Games will take place in venues across Dublin from Friday 15th –Sunday 17th June. Over 1,600 inspiring athletes will participate in 13 sports over 3 days of competition. All venues are open to the public and are free of charge to spectators.
276 athletes from all across Leinster will take part, including 35 athletes from Louth.
The Special Olympic torch arriving at Realt Na Mara with Garda Conor Mc Caughley and David Moore PICTURE: Arthur Kinahan
Realt Na Mara students with their Specially made Olympic Torches PICTURE: Arthur Kinahan