Irish Olympic hero Kellie Harrington arrives home after Tokyo gold success
Irish Olympic hero Kellie Harrington has arrived back in the Republic following her boxing gold medal triumph in Tokyo.
The Dubliner is set to travel through the north inner city on an open-topped bus to mark the occasion.
Organisers have urged the public adhere to public health guidelines so the celebrations can proceed safely.
Harrington said: “It’s so nice to finally be home and I’m delighted to be bringing the gold back to the north inner city!
“Winning the gold is a huge honour and I’m so grateful for all the support from my family, my local community and my country.
“I’m looking forward to seeing you all again to thank you for the immense support and many kind wishes you’ve sent my way throughout my Olympic journey – I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Harrington urged those wishing to join the celebrations to do so safely.
She said: “If you’re out celebrating just remember to stay safe and keep your social distance; we aren’t out of the woods with Covid-19 yet and we need to stick together as a community and look out for each other.
“I’m looking forward to seeing you all again safely in the coming weeks and months, take care of yourselves and each other.”
Dublin City Council has extended its “warmest congratulations to Kellie Harrington and all Olympians on their return from Tokyo 2020”.
“We acknowledge the contribution they have made in lifting the spirits of the nation over the past few weeks,” a council statement said.
The open-topped bus is set to leave Ballybough at 5pm this evening, and will procced down Gardiner St, Killarney St, passing Harrington’s home on Portland Row, before proceeding to Sean McDermott St, Summerhill and the North Strand.
The council statement said: “Local residents will have the opportunity to see Kellie from the footpaths along these streets.
“We are urging everybody to adhere to public health guidelines as requested by Kellie in her message to her local community.”
Harrington grabbed victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira by a unanimous points decision to become only the second Irish female boxer to win an Olympic medal after Katie Taylor’s gold in London 2012.
Her performance during the Olympics has turned the 31-year-old into a star in Ireland, with her success marking the first time Ireland has won golds in two different sports at the same Olympics.
Rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan triumphed in the men’s lightweight double sculls earlier in the Games.
Harrington’s family are eagerly anticipating her arrival back in Dublin, from where they watched and celebrated her success in Tokyo.
Mandy Loughlin, Harrington’s partner of 13 years, said yesterday: “She brings 110% to whatever she does, she brings the craic, she brings passion and excitement.”
“If you meet Kellie, and you’re talking to her, the energy, she just makes you want to be a better person, she really does.”
Few people are more proud than her friends and neighbours on Portland Row.
A postbox outside the Summerhill post office, close to where Harrington grew up, has been painted gold in anticipation of her arrival, while her estate, decked out with tricolours and banners, has drawn comparisons to Italia 90.
After a weekend of visitors dropping by, including many fans on their way to Croke Park, there was another surprise in store for the Harrington family on Monday, when the Dublin fire brigade called in to offer their congratulations.
As the family were outside speaking to local councillor and former Dublin lord mayor Christy Burke, a fire engine appeared with the siren blaring.
Three firefighters, in full uniforms, emerged to present them with a bouquet of flowers for the Olympic hero.
The boxer’s father Christy told them: “You guys are the real heroes.”