President McAleese greets Athenry Residents

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Twelve travel to meet the President at the Áras

Wednesday, 6th February 2002, saw twelve Soilse members board the 8 p.m. train to Dublin to visit President McAleese. Card games and chat helped to while away the two-and-a-half-hour journey. We caught the bus into O’Connell Street, where we spent time visiting the G.P.O., Moore Street and of course the shops. A delicious lunch was had by all in Arnotts of Henry street.

By 2.15p.m. we were outside the gates of the Áras, where we joined 15 buses of other visitors from around the country. The bus carried us down the winding avenue to the Áras front door where we were welcomed by the President’s secretary. We headed the queue of visitors and at 2.3Op.m. were ushered in to meet the President and her husband Martin.

Friendly welcome

She greeted us with a warm smile and a firm hand-shake. We told her about ourselves and Soilse activities and she wished us well in our endeavours.

Roselyn Ryan presented her with an engraved Galway crystal bowl on behalf of all Soilse members. We posed for a photograph with her and we moved into the beautiful main state reception room where we enjoyed tea, wine, sandwiches and a host of other goodies.

It took the President over an hour to welcome all of her guests and at 4 p.m. she addressed us. She praised everybody who helped make life full and enjoyable for our friends with special needs. She then mingled and chatted with her visitors for a short time and our visit ended at 4.30 p.m.

The Áras bus took us back to Heuston Station where we took our reserved seat on the 5 p.m. train back to the “Fields of Athenry”. It was a wonderful visit that we will remember for a long time.

Soilse visitors

The Soilse members who visited the President were: Michael Waldron, Roselyn Ryan, John McGill, Eimear Hynes, Mary Coffey, Mary Quinn, Margaret Seery, Ann Waldron, Nellie McNamara, and Gerry Ahern.

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About this record

Written by To be confirmed!

Published here 15 Jul 2023 and originally published Summer 2002

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