From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Special Olympics
Castlebar welcomes The Venezuelan Special Olympic Delegation-Bienvenidos!
By Carmel Dooley
18, Jun 2003 - 07:43

Castlebar welcomes The Venezuelan Special Olympic Delegation-Bienvenidos!

Castlebar is currently playing host to 157 Special Olympic athletes and officials from Venezuela. The athletes arrived on Monday night and are staying in Lough Lannagh Village and the Travellers Friend Hotel. Castlebar Urban District Council officially welcomed the delegation to Castlebar at a civic reception held last evening in the Welcome Inn Hotel.

Venezuelan dancers at the Welcome Inn reception - click for more photos from Michael Donnelly

Prior to the reception the athletes visited local primary schools where they were warmly welcomed by the pupils and staff. A number of athletes visited the Museum of Country Life at Turlough House while the rest of the delegation enjoyed an afternoon at the Cinema.

After the civic reception the delegation was treated to an evening of Irish Music and Dance. Local artists taking part included the Heather Breeze Ceil Band and the Redmond School of Dance. A most enjoyable evening was had by all.

Today (Wednesday) is the first of two training days for the athletes. A number of buses will transport the athletes accompanied by local volunteers to the various training venues. The athletes will return to GMIT for lunch and afterwards different groups will visit the Linenhall Arts Centre, Mayo Leisure Point and the Vocational Training Unit.

This evening the delegation will be the guests of the parish at a special mass to be held in the Church of the Holy Rosary at 5.30pm.

This will be followed by a parade through the streets of Castlebar. The assembly point for the parade is the Church Car Park at 6pm.The parade will be led by a Flag Party from the 18th Infantry Battalion, Castlebar. Also taking part are Balla Pipe Band, and bands from St. Angela’s National School, St. Patrick’s Boys National School, Snugboro National School and Breaffy National School, Castlebar Host Town committee encourages everyone to come out and share the feeling! with the Venezuelan Olympian athletes on this unique occasion.

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