Dublin welcomes home inner-city Olympic hero Kellie

by Rose Barrett
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By Rose Barrett

Dublin City Council along with the gardaí prepared for the return of Olympic heroine, Kellie Harrington.

Along with the remaining Olympians returning from Tokyo, the boxing champion from Portland Row travelled in an open top bus through her local area.

Following a series of media commitments at the airport, the endearing Dubliner got the welcome she deserved, despite the authority’s concerns re large crowds gathering and the spread of Covid-19.

10 August 2021; An emotional Team Ireland women’s lightweight gold medallist Kellie Harrington and Emmet Brennan pass through Portland Row in Dublin on their return from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Dublin City Council confirmed the lighting of the Five Lamps, an iconic city landmark, to celebrate her remarkable achievement in claiming gold on Sunday morning last, having defeated the Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira in the ladies lightweight boxing division on Sunday.

Not only did her family, neighbourhood and fellow city residents rejoice in her win but Kellie’s spirit in the lead up to the final bout captured the hearts of the nation and indeed, her popularity spread across an international stage.

Her generous spirit in applauding all Olympic athletes, even the vanquished, and reminding them that getting to Tokyo was in itself a major achievement, endeared her to sporting communities across the world. 

10 August 2021; Gold Medallist Kellie Harrington with members of the Ireland boxing team at Dublin Airport as Team Ireland’s boxers return from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Kellie was greeted by Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Costello followed by an open top bus which made its way from Clonliffe Housel licensed premised towards Summerhill, heading towards Sean McDermott Street, and then to her home in Portland Row.

Alas, the Olympic champion did not be leave the bus, owing to pandemic restrictions. In recent days, leading politicians and celebrities have called for the boxing heroine to be given the freedom of Dublin City.

This is the highest accolade possible to bestow on the capital resident, a healthcare worker who continued her work at the height of the Covid spread. 

City councillors, Nial Ring, Anthony Flynn and Christy Burke among them, called for DCC to consider the honour for Kellie, but this cannot be agreed until the next council meeting next month. 

Only eighty two people to date have been conferred with the Freedom of the City but judging by the media frenzy in recent days, the capital seems besieged with Kellie, her family, partner Mandy and her persona – she may have won an Olympic gold but now, Kellie herself is gold dust!

10 August 2021; Team Ireland women’s lightweight gold medallist Kellie Harrington and Emmet Brennan pass through Portland Row in Dublin on their return from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

After ding-donging in and out of pandemic lockdowns, Kellie Harrington’s beaming smile and good nature is the perfect lift for a bored, tired Dublin populous.

Welcome home Kellie and all Olympians. Politicians have appealed to the public and Kellie fans to observe as much as possible the HSE health and safety guidelines, to spread out through the Summerhill and surrounding area – and not to converge en masse on Portland Street. 

The Dublin Gazette proudly joins all the accolades to date, in congratulating Kellie on her Olympic success, and wishing her continued success in her sporting career.

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