Ireland’s Olympians for 2012, including golden girl Katie Taylor, were welcomed home like heroes on Dawson Street in Dublin on Wednesday. In a ceremony to welcome home and congratulate Ireland’s 66 athletes, 31 were on hand to witness the crowd of 5,000 in Ireland’s capital.
Wet and rainy weather didn’t dampen the spirits in and around Dublin as Ireland’s athletes made their return home from London. As part of their welcome back, RTE’s Des Cahill led the event on Dublin’s Dawson Street that included athletes as well as their coaches and backstage hands.
While around 20,000 were expected to turn out, only about 5,000 did with poor weather to blame.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí, Minister for Sport Michael Ring, and president of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey were all in attendance at the Dawson Street reception.
Former Olympic heroes Michael Carruth, Ronnie Delany and Kenny Egan were present, as well as a number of the torch bearers, including the father of the late boxer Darren Sutherland.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny joined in on the celebrations and welcomed the athletes to a special reception later at Farmleigh House following the Dawson Street welcomes. He said the team had been "champions for the nation.”
Kenny also pointed out how the Olympics highlighted Irish and British relationship has evolved. He remarked on the atmosphere in the ExCeL Arena, where British fans cheered Katie Taylor and Irish fans cheered British boxer Nicola Adams, and how that would not have happened a decade ago.
Ireland’s pride Katie Taylor said at the Dawson Street welcome that “The support has been incredible. I’m a bit nervous standing up here in front of everyone. We just want to thank everyone for support.”
“We wouldn’t have got these medals without the support, so thanks everyone. Hopefully some young girls coming up are going to be even better than me there’ll be a few Olympic champions out there,” said Taylor.
Up next for Taylor? “I’m going to Ibiza with the lads! I’ll probably come back a raging alcoholic,” she joked.