A MOONSHINER PAYS HOMAGE
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.
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.
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