Last week I found myself in Northern Ireland for the first time. I always knew that if ever I came here, I would take a trip to Ballymoney, and pay my respects to one of my heroes, the late, great, road-racer, Joey Dunlop, by visiting his grave.     It was with luck, that I found myself with a few hours free time, whilst working in and around Belfast. I left Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus and followed the simple route up toward Coleraine, dropping into Ballymoney just as the ever-present Northern Irish rain clouds took a break for lunch.     Following the sign toward Garryduff, you drive past the local leisure centre which has been re-named in honour of ‘Yer Maun’.

the "Joey Dunlop"  leisure centre

    Following the same country lane, along which 60,000 people followed Joey to his final resting place, you soon arrive at the Garryduff Presbyterian Chapel, a humble, unassuming building, on your left, next to a row of 2-3 houses.

Garryduff Presbyterian Chapel

I parked up in front of the last house, the owner of which was quietly tending his garden, and respectfully, opened the gate and followed my nose around the graveyard until I found ‘the one’. I suppose I found everything I expected to find, a fitting, whilst not ostentatious tribute. I will let you be the judge…

    I spent a few minutes with my thoughts, there by the graveside, and found myself filling up; as I do again, whilst writing this, funnily enough…old softie?     Then, with a feeling of inner turmoil, I returned to the car, to follow the signs I had seen on the way, which promised to lead me to ‘Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden’.     Arriving at the Memorial Garden, on a corner of one of the main streets of Ballymoney, I found the turmoil inside being gradually replaced by a feeling of pride. The people of Ballymoney, Honda, and anyone else involved should feel rightfully proud of themselves, in the commissioning and building of such a wonderful and apt tribute, and also for keeping it that way. Would it have remained so, in many other areas, unsullied out of respect?  

I will let the photos I took tell the picture of a trip which I am glad to have made.  





  Kath 3 dooks !                                                        10/5/03