Olympic Flame makes historic visit to Dublin
Day 19 of the London 2012 Torch Relay saw the Olympic Flame make an historic first ever visit to Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland. The torch began the day travelling by convoy to Howth, where it was received by Irish President Michael D Higgins, before moving onto Dublin’s Croke Park stadium for the start of the relay.
It was then carried across the stadium roof’s glass “skywalk” by hurler Henry Sheflin – one of a host of sports stars to carry the Olympic Flame during the course of the day.
Other prominent sporting personalities to take part included former athlete Sonia O'Sullivan, retired footballer Paul McGrath, ex-rugby internationals Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan and leading jockey Ruby Walsh.
Inspirational members of the public also took part as Torchbearers, including Robbie Lyons, 17, who received a kidney transplant in 2009 but has continued to participate in sport, and Alva Nolan, from Dublin, who has volunteered with the Special Olympics since 2007.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny also greeted the torch when it arrived at the Government Buildings, before a celebratory event was held at St Stephen's Green, where O'Sullivan, a former Olympic silver medallist, lit a special beacon to mark the occasion.
Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, underlined the historic nature of the visit.
He said: "We will never have the Olympic Games in Dublin and the nearest we are ever going to come to it is the London Games, so to have the torch relay on our part of the island is quite unique and historical. I think in years to come people will look back and say, 'that must have been great'."
The Torch then made its way to Belfast, Northern Ireland, for an evening celebration, with performances by dance troupes General Fiasco and Twist and Pulse.