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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Kellie's coming home

Cheers on the streets of north Dublin city as Olympic star Kellie Harrington arrives home

The champion boxer returned with other members of the Olympic team today.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 10th 2021, 5:30 PM

Kellie Harrington 025 Sam Boal Locals celebrate as Irish Olympic boxer Kellie Harrington travels through the streets of north inner city Dublin on an open top bus Sam Boal

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST Kellie Harrington has made a victorious return to Ireland and travelled through her local community on an open-top bus this evening.

The 31-year-old travelled from Tokyo alongside bronze medallist Aidan Walsh and the rest of Team Ireland’s remaining Olympians, arriving back at Dublin Airport this afternoon.

Despite the excitement around the team’s homecoming, people were urged not to travel to the airport due fears about the spread of Covid-19.

Harrington arrived home to a hero’s welcome in the north inner city this evening.

She toured through her local community by open top bus, which commenced in Ballybough, before moving through Gardiner Street, Killarney Street, Portland Row, Sean McDermott Street, Summerhill and the North Strand. 

Prior to this evening, Dublin City Council encouraged only local people to line the streets for the occasion.

In a message ahead of her arrival home, Harrington said asked those out celebrating this evening 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,” she said.

The council has approved the lighting of the Five Lamps landmark to acknowledge Harrington’s achievement.

Kellie Harrington 008 Sam Boal Olympic gold medal winner Kellie Harrington arriving in Dublin Airport this afternoon Sam Boal

Speaking outside Dublin Airport this afternoon, Harrington said she “can’t wait” to get to spend time with her family and girlfriend. 

“It means the world to me to bring back the gold. But my mentality is, anybody who steps through those ropes and makes it to an Olympic Games is a champion, regardless of whether you bring a medal back or not,” she told reporters.

“For me, it’s not always about winning medals and stuff like that. It’s about getting through the doors of the boxing club, for all the young people out there, all the teenagers out there,” she said.

“It’s about stepping through the doors first, meeting people and becoming part of a family then. Whatever happens after that is a bonus really.

“Boxing is an escape for a lot of people. I just hope that with the success that we’ve had out here, that we get a lot of funding now into local boxing clubs and we support local boxing clubs. That’s what we need.”

Kellie Harrington homecoming 002 Leah Farrell Pictured this morning is neighbour and Portland Row resident Sabrina Dunne as preparations take place on the street for the homecoming of Irish Olympic gold medal winner Kellie Harrington Leah Farrell

KELLIE HARRINGTON_I2A7462 Leon Farrell Crowds wait on Portland Row for the homecoming of Irish Olympic gold medal winner Kellie Harrington Leon Farrell

On her emotional reunion with her parents and partner Mandy, the gold medallist said: “I have no tears left to cry. Normally I’m crying all the time.

“They’re all bawling their eyes out. I’m really happy with that, it’s them instead of me this time!”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland congratulated Harrington in a statement, saying that today is a “wonderful day” for the city. 

“Dublin is bursting with pride. Kellie and all our local Olympians have allowed us to journey with them over the last few weeks,” Gilliland said. 

Harrington is Ireland’s ninth gold-winning medallist in Olympic history.

The gold medal winning rowing team returned to Ireland nine days ago after their competition ended in Tokyo.

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan won gold in the lightweight double sculls, while the women’s four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, and Aifric Keogh won bronze.

With reporting by Céimin Burke, Press Association and Gráinne Ní Aodha in north inner city Dublin.

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