Olympic Torch Relay

The torch for the 2012 Olympic Games passed through Dublin last week, on its way to London.  The kids and I decided to take a trip downtown to watch it pass by.  The torch coming to Dublin was of special significance this year.  In previous years, the torch passed through many countries on its way to the host city.  However, due to the protests that occurred during the 2008 torch relay, the rules have been changed.  Now the torch relay only takes place in the host country.  Obviously, Ireland is not hosting the Olympics.  Since several of the athletes from the Irish Olympic team are from Northern Ireland, the Olympic committee granted an exception, and allowed the torch to pass through Ireland.  I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see the torch in person.  Also, the likelihood that we’ll be in Russia, or Brazil (host countries for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics) is quite small.

We got a great spectator location at Merrion Square across from National Maternity Hospital.  When we got there, we were basically the only ones at the corner, except for a few Gardaí (policemen, pronounced “gar-dee”). Of course, the kids were really excited to see the Gardaí.

Gardai at torch relay
Waiting for the torch

A kind tourist volunteered to take our picture.  This was the best one he took.

Everyone at the torch relay

The television crew came by, and we were filmed for the news (along with the rest of the small crowd that had gathered.)  Too bad we don’t have a TV – I don’t know if we made the cut!

RTE Van (RTE - Ireland's BBC equivalent)
RTE Cameraman

Liesl got bored, and amused the crowd by climbing all over the stroller.

Liesl and the stroller (yes, my coffee is wedged in the visor)

Finally, the “pre-torch” parade came by.  There were several large buses.  One was carrying the relay runners.  There was this strange Coca-Cola bus, and people were handing out bottles of Coke.  I love the look on the face of the Coca-Cola girl as she ran along.  She was WAY too excited about Coke.

Coca-Cola bus!

Samsung had a bus with some singer/rapper on top.  Too bad my pop culture knowledge was failing me, because I had no idea who he was.  He kept saying, “Only 5 more minutes!”  Everyone in the crowd was somewhat annoyed.

Samsung Bus. (The building behind the bus is the National Maternity Hospital, where Patrick was born.)

We were all ready for the torch to arrive, when this guy came around the corner.  The crowd thought he had the torch, and everyone began to cheer.  This guy really hammed it up, and it was amusing.

Torch Relay Cyclist

Finally the torch arrived.  The torch bearer for our portion of the route was Joan Freeman, the founder of Pieta House, a suicide-prevention organization.  In the pictures, you see people dressed in blue t-shirts.  They were the staff of the Pieta House who had come to cheer her on.

Olympic Torch!
Closeup of the torch! She passed right in front of us.
The guys in gray are the security detail, to protect both the torch and the torch bearer.

The last bus in the convoy had celebrities for the final celebration at St. Stephen’s Green.  This guy is a part of Jedward, a twin-brother teen-pop duo.  Apparently they are huge here in Ireland.  Of course, someone had to tell me who it was because I had no idea.

Jedward? Very weird hair

And just like that, the torch was gone and the crowds dispersed.  I promised that after the relay, we would go into Merrion Square park, and have a snack.

Isaac and Liesl holding hands on the way to Merrion Square.
Conversation on the park bench, over an almond croissant...you know...the usual thing here

Since I’m taking a photography class, I also took a photo of this statue in Merrion Square, while the kids were snacking.  I love subjects that don’t move!

Statue in Merrion Square

I am really glad that we decided to watch the relay.  I’m sure the kids won’t remember, but it was still really cool.


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One thought on “Olympic Torch Relay”

  1. I’m glad you got to see it and from such a great view – no crowd. We were once in downtown Las Vegas when the Olympic torch passed through. The crowd was so thick that we could only say we were there. We could not see anything.

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