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Ronnie Delany opens “Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010” exhibition

 

Ireland’s most popular Olympian Dr Ronnie Delany was at the County Museum, Dundalk this evening (Thursday, June 21) to perform the official opening of “Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010”.

Dr Delany took time out from his busy schedule to open the extensive exhibition which prominently features his gold medal win at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

“Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010” has received approval from the Olympic Council of Ireland and is the only such exhibition being held in the country this summer.

Curator Brian Walsh spoke about his delight at Dr Delany’s opening of the exhibition: “Ronnie Delaney is the first name that comes to mind when you think about Ireland’s Olympic medallists. It was wonderful to speak to him when I was putting the exhibition together and it is a great honour for us that he agreed to open the exhibition.”

The exhibition features contributions from many former Olympic competitors and their families, and Brian Walsh added a glimpse into an Ireland of years ago: “Speaking to Maeve Kyle, who was Ireland’s first female athlete, competing in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics was a real eye opener. At that time female athletes were somewhat frowned upon and it was said that the Catholic Church had an extreme disapproval of such activities for women.

“However Maeve Kyle battled for her place in the Melbourne Olympics, and paved the way for athletes like Sonia O’Sullivan to follow. Speaking to her so many years later, she is still an inspiration for women.”

 

Research into Ireland’s Olympics competitors has also uncovered numerous associations with Co Louth including:

·         Tony ‘Socks’ Byrne, Drogheda – Boxing, 1956

·         Noel Carroll, Annagassan – Running, 1964 and 1968

·         Peter McArdle, Dundalk – Running, 1964

·         Beatrice Hill Lowe, Ardee – Archery, 1908

·         Conor McCullough, Drogheda – Hammer Throw, 1984 and 1988

·         Dr John Sellars, Dundalk – Rifle Shooting, 1908

·         Henry Joseph Browne, Annaskeagh - 1908

·         Colin Lowth, Drogheda – Swimming, 2000

·         Patrick Holmes – Canoeist, 1988 and 1992

·         Edmond Gibney, Louth – Equestrian, 2004

·         Dan Coyle – Hammer, 1948

 

“Patriot Games: Ireland and the Olympics 1896-2010” is now open at the County Museum, Dundalk.